The Patron’s Lunch: Four students join the world’s largest street party
|Following the excitement of the visit to Berkhamsted School by Her Majesty The Queen on Friday 6 May to mark the School’s 475th anniversary, four Sixth Form students will join 10,000 people on The Mall on Sunday 12 June to celebrate The Queen’s 90th birthday.|
As one of Her Majesty’s 600 Patron Organisations, Berkhamsted School was given the opportunity to be a part of what is expected to be the world’s largest ever street party.
The Patron’s Lunch will recognise the tireless support and service our Monarch and Patron has given to the community over her 64-year reign, so it was decided that tickets would be offered to four students who have demonstrated a high level of commitment to community service and serving others.
Berkhamsted School’s community service programme aims to provide all Sixth Form students with the opportunity to give something back to the community, and each year an average of 2,500 hours of volunteering are offered in local schools, charity shops and Ashlyns Care Home. Every year, however, there are students whose level of commitment goes above and beyond what is expected.
The four students who will attend The Patron’s Lunch are Joseph Woods (Year 12), Jessica Little, Jazmyn Thompson and Patrick Tolan (all Year 13). Below is more information on the way in which these students serve others:
Jazmyn Thompson has volunteered for the past two years at primary schools and helping children with special needs. “I’ve really enjoyed my community service and have so many memories. We went to a farm and helped a boy who wouldn’t go into the stables because of the cobwebs to be brave enough to stroke the horses (which he ended up loving). I have built strong relationships with the children, it’s been so rewarding and I intend to carry on going.”
Jazmyn has also been involved in a charity in Kenya and spent last summer volunteering there: “Three years ago my family looked after two young boys from the New Philadelphia School, Nakuru, Kenya, through the charity Touraid. Six months later we went to visit their school and found they lived in a slum. One of the boys has to walk two hours to school each day and used two candles each night so he could do his homework. We took 700 pencils to give to them – you would have thought we had given them a jewel each.
“They had recently raised money to build a wooden music classroom to teach everyone to sing and dance. I love to sing and so I decided to return to Kenya last summer to spend a week teaching the children to sing some English songs.” Jazmyn also set up a fundraising page where she raised £1,839 to buy musical instruments for the school.
Jazmyn was one of the student ambassadors chosen to assist pupils and guests on the day of Her Majesty’s visit to Berkhamsted School. Here is her recollection of the day:
|“It was a great privilege to be one of student ambassadors to represent the school. My job was to help place the rest of the school in their designated places around the quad and to hand out flags. It was an atmosphere I will never forget with everyone smiling, cheering and waving their flags. Being so close to the Queen was such a privilege, she is such an extraordinary women, and I feel great pride to have been part of and experience such a special day. What a way to end my time at Berkhamsted!”|
Patrick Tolan has taken an innovative approach to his volunteering, becoming one of the first team leaders in The Student Consultancy in Schools – a programme that Berkhamsted School runs in association with The University of Oxford’s Careers Service. At the start of the project, Patrick and his team had training in essential Management Consulting skills to develop their ability to explore solutions to a particular business issue facing a local charity or community organisation. In this way, they used their intellect to help give back to the community they are so proud to be a part of here in Berkhamsted.
Working for their client Dacorum Borough Council and Dacorum’s Health and Wellbeing Partnership, Patrick and his team of five students produced a detailed report on factors influencing child deprivation in the borough, conducting primary and secondary research in order to suggest ways in which their client could make a real difference to local family Health and Wellbeing.
In addition to this, last year Patrick organised and completed a solo, End to End Cycle Challenge (Land’s End to John O’Groats) to raise over £5,000 for the charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) in memory of Harry Faulkner, a Year 13 student at Berkhamsted and nationally ranked squash player, who died as a result of an undiagnosed heart condition in 2013.
Jessica Little believes her most significant contribution to community service is the volunteering she undertakes at the Hospice of St Francis. “I volunteer at the in-patient unit and gain direct contact with both the patients and their families. While not always an easy task, it has definitely changed my perspective on what is important in life. It’s a common belief that a hospice is not the most joyful of places, but my work there has taught me otherwise. The hospice is a happy and special place that has taught me the power of love and care, where people are treated with dignity and respect for whatever time they have left.” Jessica will always remember what the husband of a patient once said to her: “We really appreciate everything you do, from bringing us cups of tea to just chatting to us. It’s volunteers like you that make the hospice the place it is.”
Jessica is a keen performer, in both drama and dance, having worked in the West End when she was a child, and volunteered at a drama school in Berkhamsted every week for a year. “I felt a good place to give back to my community would be volunteering to teach young children how to sing, dance, and act, so they could grow to love it as much as I do. I found watching the children grow in confidence and talent particularly inspiring and it is something I will always treasure.”
Every year Berkhamsted School hosts a tea party for local senior citizens and Jessica has performed at this event since she joined the School. “Knowing you have provided someone with such enjoyment is a feeling that is difficult to describe, it makes you feel warm inside. In September I am going to University to study Medicine in another journey to give back and make a difference to people’s lives. I will be continuing my volunteer work and striving to give back to my community in whatever way I can.”
Joseph Woods has volunteered at Ashlyns Care Home for the past three years: “It allows me to talk to the residents and listen to their stories,” he explains. Joseph has also helped out on two occasions at the School’s annual Senior Citizens’ Easter Tea Party. “The school invites elderly people from the surrounding area. We talk, drink tea and eat cake. I help out by directing people to the event and we are given other jobs such as taking coats and inviting people to their tables. I like to think that from these events and from volunteering at the residential home, I have developed conversational skills and I have really enjoyed listening to the life experiences of the residents.”
Joseph also volunteered recently at Save the Children, spending part of a day collecting money in Berkhamsted. “When I was in Year 10, my brother and I organised a cake sale that raised £225 to help those in the Philippines disaster. This was one of the first times I displayed leadership skills and organised an event; we earned an award in our house for outstanding contribution.” Joseph’s skills were then put into use when he became a Prefect in his House and managed to organise many events, alongside the other prefects and the charity representatives, which raised money for House charities, Smile Malawi and the Hospice of St Francis.
“For volunteering at the residential home, I was recently awarded a Gold award by the school for outstanding contribution to the local community. Outside of school, I also help my neighbours with their technological needs and caring for their gardens when they are away.”
Updates from The Patron’s Lunch will be posted on the School’s Twitter account:
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For more information about The Patron’s Lunch, please click on the logo below: