Concord’s 6.2 students celebrated their graduation last week. The sixth formers who are taking their A Levels this summer were invited to a prize giving. Each student crossed the theatre stage in turn to be congratulated on completing their studies by Principal Dr Truss.

Dr Truss explained why Concord students graduate in May “Different schools have different names for their end of term celebrations of successes: prize-giving, speech day and so on, but for our students in Upper Sixth at Concord, we call this Graduation. Our ceremony celebrates achievement, but the timing here is particularly significant, because we hold the celebrations not after exams have finished, but before they have really started. In this way we are able to celebrate and acknowledge the contribution of every single student, and that is something quite special. ”

Subject prizes were awarded for the top performers in each subject as judged by their teachers, no easy task given the exceptional academic performance of Concord students. Winners were announced by Vice Principal Mr Tom Lawrence and received their scroll boxes with winners certificates from Dr Truss.

After the roll-call, students left the building through a guard of honour of college staff who cheered them through to a (soft) drinks reception. The outdoor reception was an opportunity for students to take pictures and for staff to congratulate them individually.

The graduation was followed at the weekend by another celebratory Concord tradition, the annual 6.2 Ball. Students from 6.2 and members of teaching and pastoral staff attended a wonderful dinner and party in celebration of the year group’s time at Concord and their many achievements.

The evening began with the awarding of the Frank Bell Prize. The prize is for the boy and girl in 6.2 who have contributed most generously to the life of the College while setting high standards academically and – very importantly – setting an example to others. As Dr Truss explained “Not only is this an opportunity for students to reflect with each other on their time with us, it provides us with the opportunity to award very special prizes to the two students who most embody our ethos”

Concord staff are all invited to nominate students for the prize, and their nomination comments form the basis for the citation read out at the awarding of the prize. Seven students were in the final group whose citations were read to ball guests by Concord’s Chairman of Trustees, Dr Ian Bride.

This year’s two Frank Bell Prize winners are Daria Ovnanian (Dasha) and Leonid Sokolov (Leo).

Dr Truss commented “Our two very deserving winners, Dasha and Leonid, are truly extraordinary people. Their strength of character, positivity, resilience and fundamental compassion shine through in everything they say and do, and it was a hugely proud moment to see them recognised in this way for being the brilliant people they are.”

The citations from their teachers reflected on their many positive attributes, a short extract from each is below:

“Positive, patient, supportive and warm-hearted, Leo embraces fully what it means to be a Concordian, making friends with students of every nationality and involving himself in every aspect of college life. He is a model student who strives to achieve his best, using every opportunity as a chance to improve.”

“Dasha is a phenomenon. She projects so much warmth through her wonderfully positive, smiling and confident approach to daily life. We could all learn a lot from her unrelenting quest for knowledge, language and appreciation of our diversity as human beings. She is considerate, creative, articulate, and mature beyond her years”.