Alice (I), Head Girl


Five years ago, I found the move from my comforting home environment to Bradfield quite challenging. I was told that Bradfield was the most luxurious 3 Michelin starred restaurant. But, to be honest, the starter left me with a sour taste, I simply didn’t like it.

I thought moving to a secondary school meant you had to give good and sophisticated answers to intellectual questions. Therefore, I immersed myself into an obsessive academic journey in order to deliver good results as I wrongly assumed this was what school was about.

On rare occasions, I would step outside my comfort zone. I decided to embark on an acting career but my first audition ended up an utter failure before a similar experience when I tried to start a musical career. I couldn’t help but think what on earth am I doing here? I much preferred the beans on toast I was being fed at home.

I am not a quitter so I ordered the second course hoping the restaurant would live up to its reputation. I was determined to make these the best years of my life so I engaged with a positive journey of discovery. To my surprise, it actually tasted quite nice. I kept tucking in for more, after all, eating is not only about feeding yourself but enjoying the experience.

I would pack a bag for my afternoon activities with my tennis racket, hockey stick, lacrosse stick and all the different shoes that went with them, all of which fitted in between the meetings, debates and societies.

Bradfield provided an infinite number of ways for me to start expressing myself and rebuild my self-esteem. Most importantly the transition to my senior house gave my life a third dimension and that was friendship. This filled me with love and support and equipped me to deal with a few more failures along the way.

Bradfield allowed me to appreciate that the world has so much to offer and that I could not waste any more time. My appetite kept growing to the point where I not only wanted to make the most of opportunities but to create my own. I wanted to be a contributor to the development of the College’s values and help others flourish and stimulate their talents.

Each mouthful, whether it be gaining consciousness of my potential, being loved and respected by my peers, being enthused by the desire to improve the environment, seduced by the OSCAR Foundation or campaigning for ‘Meat-Free Mondays’, made me a true gourmet, an addicted foodie who didn’t want the meal to end.

Now, five years later, I have found that school is not about teaching you to give good answers, it is about encouraging you to discover your potential and embark on a meaningful journey.

This surreal Covid experience has taught me to never take anything for granted and has stimulated my ambition to become a force for good. More than ever, I will fight for sustainability and human rights. I have learnt the most important values here and they are passion and gratitude. Without passion, I would not and will not achieve much and gratitude is the most important message of this speech. Thank you to everyone at Bradfield. You have all undeniably made these the best years of my life.