After a week of deepening friendships, growing understanding, games on the sports fields, trips to a list of places so long that they cannot begin to be named— the weeks that students have spent in Jowett Walk must, sadly, come to an end. After one final morning of lessons, and a last workshop before a short stint in which students could pack, everybody at Jowett Walk convened in the Balliol College Chapel.
The students in Balliol did themselves proud with their sartorial elegance: they looked exceedingly smart in their suits and polished shoes, while the girls all appeared very accomplished. Christine Luscombe-Whyte, the Programme Director in Jowett Walk, opened the ceremony with some beautiful words recognising families’ effort and hard work. It is, after all, the support of the parents that has allowed students to expand their academic knowledge and build enriching and insightful friendships with people from all around the world. She spoke highly of the students’ enthusiasm and commitment, noting with pleasure some particularly golden moments from her fortnight.
Mark, from the Czech Republic, was the Student Ambassador at Jowett Walk, and delivered a short speech on behalf of himself and the other students. Declaring that his experience at ORA had, once again, constituted the highlight of his summer, his words were a true encouragement to the staff, and spoke volumes of the excellent natures of the students.
Dylan Cofer (US), accepting his Attainment Award at the prize-giving, gave a speech full of personal insights and jokes! Like Mark, he also included a personal appreciation to his Business and Enterprise teacher, Anuj. The counsellors and teachers have been deeply impressed by not only the effort and intellect of the students in Jowett, but also by their kind hearts, and these speeches reminded them of this.
As the prize-giving continued, special congratulations went to Athenae Poulain for earning the Effort Award, in recognition for all the hours she has spent searching through the thesaurus trying to increase the quality of her writing, and to Fiamma Fenzi, from Italy, and Ariadna Bernal, from Spain, for never giving up and always striving for improvement.
Leaving the graduation ceremony, parents and students were greeted by the sight of the creations made by the students of the inaugural Fashion and Design class. Their Balenciaga-inspired exhibition, with its statements against terrorism and for human rights, certainly looked impressive.
With the graduation concluded, students went to the Randolph Hotel for a marvellous circus-themed party. The food was magnificent: of particular splendour were the delicious desserts, decorated by beautiful chocolate butterflies that encouraged eaters to treasure them rather than eat them!
Students were very impressed by the enormous range of Circus props and games but, without a doubt, the popcorn machine was the most successful one. The punch machine was also very popular: René bet our counsellor Ed that he would score more than him, and followed up on his bet with a mighty blow that eclipsed Ed’s. Better luck next year, Ed!
With the party finished, the dancers tired out and appetites wholly sated, students returned to Jowett Walk for one last sleep before journeys to every corner of the globe the next morning. Many were already looking sad to leave. We will be sad to see them go— but we are quite sure that they will be successful in all that they do, and we wish them all the best. We hope to see all the students in Jowett here again next year, and can’t wait!