11th June, 2024

Exhibition Highlights 2024

OACC v College

The sun may not have shone all weekend, but Exhibition 2024 was bright and cheerful, with the whole school community in fine spirits across the weekend. Old Amplefordians, Parents and families were all part of this celebration of the school, in a year that has gone from success to success for Ampleforth. At the heart of it were the boys and girls themselves, it was a celebration of them. From Junior House’s Harrison turning out a stellar performance against the OAs in the cricket, to the boys and girls performance of the Wizard of Oz in the theatre, the beauty of the Schola Cantorum performing a newly commissioned piece at Mass, William Harrison-Topham piping from the top of the clock tower, to the inspiring speeches made by outgoing Head Monitors Josephine Blake-James and Seamus Stainton – the pupils were the start of the show. 

Abbot Robert spoke movingly in his homily at Mass focussing on those leaving the school this year – 

“You have lived here surrounded by a community of Benedictine monks, some of whom you have got to know, others were simply figures at a distance. Monasteries exist for no other purpose than to point to something unseen and beyond themselves. We are or should be – a place where people discover that there is more to life than what can be touched, tasted, or seen. My hope is that you have had that experience, and that you have become aware that life has a purpose, greater than the one you may choose to create for yourself.”

At Prize Giving on Saturday there was much to celebrate in achievements for individual pupils, where prizes were distributed by Abbot Robert. Speeches by Abbot Robert, Edward Sparrow (Chair of Governors), and Peter Roberts were filled with positive momentum, reflecting the journey the school has been on and the confidence it has moving into the future. 

‘If’ as the Bard says, our very own William Shakespeare, ‘music be the food of love’, then today’s music making for our fête champêtre, our Exhibition barbeque, from motet in Abbey to orchestra here in SAC is apt and uplifting for Ampleforth’s Exhibition of 2024, as a celebration of the huge amount we have achieved together across this academic year. We are all like an orchestra, each playing our part, sharing the harmony, but interpreting it with an individual and special sense of our own contribution. The sense of togetherness, contributing to the one theme, the one leitmotiv, the one hymn has been very strong.” – Peter Roberts, Headmaster

The most ringing endorsement of the weekend was from the pupils themselves, reflected so movingly by the outgoing Head Monitors in their speeches. 

“As we break away from old traditions, we allow ourselves room to build our own. The Benedictine values remain at the heart of the school, but as we look towards the future these manifest themselves more and more in the ways St. Benedict intended them to, respect not only for seniors, but between each and every person, driven by integrity and a passion to love thy neighbour as thyself. Our strength as a school is founded in our relationships with one another, building an environment which strives for academic excellence, confidence and success.” – Josephine Blake James