Friday was the very last day in Clare College for our students. Over the past two weeks a tremendous amount has happened. Friendships have sprung up and become deep; a more thorough understanding of some fascinating subjects has been rapidly attained; an enormous amount of fun has been had, whether in the audience at a Shakespearean comedy, on the croquet lawns of Clare College, or out exploring Cambridge and its environs.
It’s no surprise that students were looking pretty mournful come the evening. Before it was time to leave, however, a last day of delight was in store. After the final morning of lessons, afternoon workshops commenced for the last time: students gave the presentations for which they have spent several days preparing, with the Architecture students, for instance, presenting their projects, and the Global Leadership students engaging in a debate over the relative merits of socialism and capitalism.
After lunch, all the students and staff convened in the Riley Auditorium for the graduation, a ceremony also attended by some parents. David Stedman, the Programme Director, gave a speech thanking the students for their effort and enthusiasm in the pursuit of their studies, and also gave them some inspirational advice for their future, before presenting each students with a scroll certifying their attendance and achievement. Prizes were given out, for those students who have particularly achieved or shown great effort over the past two weeks.
After the ceremony, there was a great celebration in a heavily-decorated Clare College Bar: a final height of giddy fun before journeys tomorrow. The party was Steam Punk-themed, and the bar was resplendent with barrels, wagon wheels and wooden crates, giving so august a place a surprisingly authentically Steam Punk feel. A great array of food and snacks were on offer, along with several games and diversions: but it was the dance floor that was by far the most popular attraction, with students taking the chance to dance for perhaps the last time with friends who will soon be scattered across the world.
It was no surprise that, when curfew was announced, students were distressed: it is no easy thing for such fun, with friends now close, to be brought to an end. We at ORA are certainly sorry to see them all leave. We wish all the students in Clare College over the past two weeks the very best in their coming joys and challenges, and hope to see them all here again next year!