Exhibition Day 2014

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The many achievements and the particular character of Ratcliffe College were witnessed at large at this year’s Exhibition Day. Both the Chairman of Governors, Mr Richard Gamble, and the Headmaster, Mr Lloyd, made comment on the character of our School and its growing successes.  During the earlier Mass, Father President, Fr Ted Mullen, spoke of the familial aspect apparent t so many people when they visit us. It is right that we recognise and celebrate such things, and that we acknowledge these as the fruit of the good will and diligence of the varied members of our community.

Dr Gemma Simmonds, of the Congregation of Jesus, was the guest speaker at Exhibition Day. It was immediately apparent how comfortable she is speaking to an audience. Of greater note, however, was how enamoured so many of us were of her by the end of the address. She spoke directly, with great humour and much passion. A number of staff members and students have commented to me since Exhibition Day how pleased they were to hear someone speak not just about prize winners, but of other important aspects of school, work and family life. The two aspects of Dr Gemma’s speech that struck me were integrity and service. Both of these qualities are often quoted as being integral to a successful community or individual. Dr Gemma provided us all with wonderful illustrations of both her work with women prisoners as well as her time in some of the poorest areas of Latin America. Here was someone who truly knows the value of being true to yourself and your vocation, while serving others selflessly.

Our School motto tells us that ‘Charity is the Fulfilment of the Law’. Charity, of course, is not just almsgiving. It is love-walking, speaking, empathising and working with others who need help. To live our School motto with integrity, we must serve. As the Chairman of Governors, the Head and Fr President pointed out, there is a character to our School; and its foundation is the principle of love for God and love for others. We thank Dr Gemma for her inspirational words and for giving up her day to share her time with us.

Mr Michel, Lay Chaplain