A new school year means a new Head Girl and Head Boy. Zachary Valentine and Sophie Hunt met with Mr. Russell on their first day back in school and were presented with their school prefect ties. We took the time to sit down with them and chat about what it means to them to hold such prestigious positions at St David’s, their plans for the upcoming year, and what legacy they hope to leave behind.
Zach, Sophie, great to see you both, and congratulations again. How long have you been here at St David’s?
Zachary Valentine: “We both started in year 7”
Sophie Hunt: “Zach, I thought you were Scouse to start with! I couldn’t place your accent in our Drama lessons.”
ZV: “Ha ha!"
SH: “When I came to St David’s I found that I just slotted in. My sister was in Cader House too, so with her there I found it easy to find my own place. Getting involved as much as I could really helped. I took part in all the House events like the House Production, and all of the different sports. That lead to me getting involved in the whole school events as well.”
ZV: I started as a boarder but changed to Day after year 7”
Did you notice any difference – well apart from the obvious one?
ZV “The big difference I remember is there is a great shift in the whole dynamic of the school when all the day kids leave at the end of the school day. There is definitely a boarder community; it felts almost like Scouts in the sense that boarders have made it their own. You never felt like there’s a chasm when all of the day pupils leave that’s for sure. There’s just so much going on”
When did you think “I’d like to be Head Boy / Girl”
SH: “I think I figured it out in about year 8 or 9. It was at Speech Day, and we were watching the Head Boy & Girl speeches. My Grandad was there, and he was saying to me ‘you’ll be up there one-day Soph’ and I thought, well yeah actually that would suit me just fine. So, it was my Grandad who put the seed in my head.”
ZV: “For me, it was year 7, the first term. It was the Friday before Half Term when parents could come and meet our teachers. It was Mr. Bohanna, who told my parents “I see Head Boy material in the future“
“Looking back the Sixth Form were always there, and you always knew who the Head Girl and Boy were even when you were in the first year. It wasn’t a scary idea that I could go on and become Head Boy because we got to know them and saw them every day.”
SH: “They were familiar, and they didn’t felt out of reach. You never felt like “Ooo, you can’t talk to a Sixth Former!” everyone is really friendly and approachable.”
Where were you when you heard the news you were going to be Head Girl & Boy?
SH: “I was in my room and we were told on a Zoom call by Mr. Russell. My Mum was sitting in my room with me off-camera so she couldn’t be seen. She was crying and so I kept looking over to see if she was alright and I was really worried that Mr. Russell would think that I was distracted or didn’t care.”
ZV: “I was home alone when I found out but it was lovely, I was ecstatic.”
What are your plans for the year?
ZV: “Just looking to bring the school community back together after COVID. We’re going to be introducing our new ambassador roles as well within our Prefect Team which will help with highlighting the different aspects of the school”
SH: We have ambassadors for each aspect of the school. Sports & Outdoor Ed, Humanities, Art, STEM, Cadogan, as well as a wellbeing Ambassador. We have appointed one or two of our prefects to each of them. They’re going to be responsible for each of these areas, but they’ll be given a bit of space to determine their own roles too.”
ZV: The school has Heads of Departments taking assemblies, raising the flag for their subject areas. The idea is that, in addition to that, we will engage with year 13 pupils who have experience in these subjects and ask them to act as a sort of figurehead for that area. This will show pupils lower down the school the best of these subjects and hopefully boost involvement and engagement.”
SH: It also gives those Sixth Formers a chance to stand in the spotlight for a subject they enjoy and gain some experience in a leadership role too. It will help the younger pupils lower down the school to make decisions about what subjects they would like to study later on”
“That might be through running competitions in that department to engage pupils or the Ambassadors giving feedback to us or to Mr. Russell, the Leadership Team, or the Governors. They’ll be able to say what they feel will help each department and what support is needed.”
What would you like to be your lasting legacy?
ZV: “Probably boosting the school feeling and getting back to how it used to be before COVID. We want to use what we’ve learned through COVID and the Lockdowns and apply that to what was already a fantastic system. The Bubbles really helped to build relationships in the year groups but it struggled outside of that.
Looking at some of the House events we did have over COVID, we’d like to bring some of those in too. Some of the things that I thought were really quite clever were things like Online Chess, Virtual Sailing…
SH: “Yes! We did that, it was really fun!”
ZV: …and the engagement through some of the Headmasters’ Challenges. By applying that to the pre-existing events and feel of the school, we really want to help everybody get a much more rounded experience this year.”
SH: “The same for me too. It’s all about the community because that’s been the biggest thing since I’ve been here. I just really want to bring us all back together as soon as we are allowed”