Thursday, July 04, 2019

Simplicity, humility, charity, service and unity - thank you Harrytown Catholic High School

We’ve just got home from an emotional evening at Stockport Town Hall. Seeing our youngest lad get two gongs at the Harrytown Catholic High School Awards Evening was just fantastic, especially as one was for music. A couple of years ago he started getting interested in making his own music. We tried lessons, a crap guitar, but it was a proper MIDI keyboard and a download of FL Studio that propelled him to new heights. The sounds that come from our garage are like something else, like Giorgio Moroder has moved in for the night to do some electronic jamming with Kendrick Lamar. He’s had to work hard to catch up with the kids in his music GCSE class who have much better parents than he has, and have been mastering instruments and scales all their lives. So that was just brilliant.

But it was something else as well. Living round here as long as we have, knowing the families, knowing the twists and turns of their lives, the heartbreaks and the challenges, gives you a  glimpse of the importance of those moments for kids enjoying that walk of pride across the stage. Rachel taught some of them and has first hand experience of their journey. And I don’t know why but the kids with names ending in scu and ski get me every time. You know, coming over here, making friends, learning a language, putting up with bullying and the nasty stink of Brexit, coming to OUR COUNTRY, and achieving. I love it when I see them succeed.

Then there’s more still. Running a school in this climate is so hard. I was a governor of Harrytown for a while, and today isn’t the time to dwell on why that wasn’t an entirely happy experience. But I couldn’t be more delighted that the school has this week been awarded GOOD status again by OFSTED, proving that the improvement measures they required last time have been met. The head, the staff, the governors, the kids will have all made an enormous effort to get that kite mark of progress. Yes, it’s really important. Yes, it matters. But something deeper, more uplifting and joyous occurred tonight for so many families and for our community.

I think it deserves a prayer, the school prayer.

Heavenly Father, we gather together as one community in your name.
Give us the courage to live our shared vision that Christ is among us, at the centre of all we do.
Pour down your Spirit on Harrytown Catholic High School.
Renew in us the simplicity to recognise your presence at the heart of each person and the humility to put others first.
Touch our lives with your love so that we can share each day with each other and wide world in charity and service.
Unite us to live in the same spirit that moved Jesus to give his life for others so that ‘all may have life and live it to the full.’
We make this prayer through Jesus Christ, your Son.

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