My family has a lot to thank Bradfield for. Pupil number 1 and 19 at the College, brothers William Blackhall Simmonds and George Blackhall Simmonds are my grandfather’s ancestors. The latter went on to become the renowned sculptor behind the The Maiwand Lion war memorial in Forbury Gardens, Reading and The Falconer sculpture in Central Park, New York.

In return for what Bradfield gave to them, the Simmonds family helped the College transition from a choir school to an academic school, ensuring that it didn’t fall into ruin. They also built the house the current Headmaster lives in and even today, the Jon Simmonds Trust, named after my late uncle, at nearby Rushall’s Farm provides pupils opportunities to develop their skills as part of the Voluntary Service Programme.

No one train of thought can summarise my time here at Bradfield.

No one train of thought can summarise my time here at Bradfield. I was an “excited puppy” in Faulkner’s Mrs Stannard tells me. As an international boarder, the College has affected my life in so many different ways and not only mine but also that of my two older brothers, Ben and Sam; we are all highly appreciative of what Bradfield has given us.

How has Bradfield affected me? Well, there’s music for starters. I have loved performing in so many concerts with people who make weekly rehearsals worth it. The Jazz Band has meant so much to me over the past four years and on a graph of how good I thought I was versus how good I actually was, I have definitely descended vertically and moved right horizontally.

I guess that leads into Maths and academics quite nicely, another thing that I have realised my potential in during my time here. It is undoubtedly thanks to my brilliant teachers that I am in the position I am now, and to them I am very grateful.

Third on my list is the Combined Cadet Force (CCF), through which I have made so many friends and memories. Nothing compares to parading in front of the Menin Gate, which was a highlight of my Bradfield career, helped by practising drills for the Pringle Trophy every day.

There have been so many activities, societies, teachers and friends that listing them here would use more pages than in most books so might I just say that I am grateful for all the friendships I have found at Bradfield.

In terms of lessons learnt, I would like to make three points: 1) Do what you want; 2) Put in the effort; 3) Take responsibility for your words and actions. We all have the opportunity to make others feel like the best people in the world, but equally, through our actions or inactions; we can make them feel like the opposite.

Like my ancestors I hope that I will be able to repay even just a little of what Bradfield has given me. Call me youthfully arrogant but I’d bet my money that that hope will be fulfilled.

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