Madeleine Sava (W. 2004-09), Chris Pett (H. 1962-67), Sir John Chilcot (H/S. 1952-57), Richard Cairns (Headmaster)
Written by Madeleine Sava (W. 2004-09)
Friday, 03 May 2013

"Hello everyone, Most of you don't know who I am, so let me introduce myself. My name is Madeleine and I graduated BC in 2008 after being there for six years, and I am now in my third year studying Archaeology and Anthropology at Hertford College, Oxford.

Firstly, I would like to apologise if this speech seems like it was written in a bit of a rush.

That's coz it was.

I am currently five weeks away from sitting my finals and as I'm sure you'll all remember, this means everything including eating, showering and writing speeches comes second to me sitting in the library looking at a book and hoping by some power of osmosis the information goes in. well at least for me it does.

I would like to start by briefly saying how BC has affected my life. It really does mean everything and for me I didn't realise how good until I was no longer there, no longer being told off by Mr Rad for not doing up my top button, no longer being chased for late work, no longer inventing excuses to try and get to the front of the lunch queue, and no longer walking out on the netball pitch alongside my best friends and team mates wearing the Brighton College kit and playing alongside for my school.

One defining memory has got to be that of me and my friends, reluctant to go to lessons one day, actively locking ourselves in our study room and Williams by forcibly removing the door handles – a peaceful protest against learning some might say. To our surprise, our teaching instead of putting us all in detention, commended us for our initiative. And I think this for me sums up the reason I had such a great time at BC. I was encouraged to do well academically, but while also able to have fun with my friends and push the boundaries with the teachers – as opposed to stressing and fretting.

Brighton College has taught me to be bold in everything that I do. And I can distinctly remember Mr Cairns on our last day telling us to "let the reach exceed the grasp" and this is something I have since tried to live by.

In school I got involved with everything from D of E to cooking class to sport. So you can imagine my shock when I arrived my first day of Oxford and my tutor told me you only have time to do one thing, and that is work. He then went on to tell me that I will hit a brick wall sometime in the coming term and I will break down.

Mortified, I started my university life.

To some extent my tutor was correct, there have been countless times at 4am in the midst of an essay crisis and with another essay in the text day and I question 'why am I doing this to myself'. This is all whilst being thoughtlessly reminded by my friends at other universities that all they do is watch TV.

But, I wouldn't want it any other way.

You'll be happy to hear that I have managed to prove my tutor wrong and do multiple other things other than work, such as treading the boards and playing sport. At Oxford I am involved in the squash club, gaining two blues; I was captain last year and president this year.

I can't quite get my had around how at school I managed to get up every morning at 7:30am, do a full day's work, and then somehow fit in sport, extra curriculum and homework five days a week. This is certainly something that I did not manage to carry through to my university career. Some of you in this room might have similar experience of this: not getting up before 11. Well that is until I tried my hand at rowing as I thought it would be silly not to give it a go whilst at Oxford, the uni that, of course, won the prestigious boat race this year. I saw the ungodly hour of 5:30, as you can imagine, my rowing career did not last that long.

In Oxford I have spent too much time in the turf pub with friends and too little time in the library, but I will definitely look back with many fond memories, one of them being watching the Magdlen choir singing off the tower at 6am on mayday. I'm sure many of you share this memory with me. My uni experience has gone by too quickly and I can't quite believe it is coming to an end. I really am not quite ready to leave. And for this reason, combined with my love of sport, I'm staying on the sabbatical role of sports fed president next year, running university sport. In my new position I hope to increase the publicity of certain sports and provide all sports with more funds, while also ensuring varsity victories against those no-good tabs.

I don't know where life will take me after that but I am safe in the knowledge that I have had the best possible foundation of Brighton College and Oxford to build on.

Have a good night."

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