Lectern Club: Tempus Fugit

Apposite to the season, the theme for the final Sixth Form Lectern Club of this academic year, held on Tuesday 15th May, was Tempus Fugit – time flies. With the Upper 6th completing the last of their IB exams, it was left to the Lower 6th to pick up the baton of all the evening’s speaking and they certainly rose to the occasion.

Hosted by the Master and Mrs Stevens in the Lodge, this formal event was attended by two invited day HMs, Mrs Prime and Mr Holden, both of whom managed an impressively rapid change into elegant evening wear, despite an afternoon’s exam invigilation. They and our speakers and guests enjoyed a fruit cocktail together before the Master welcomed everyone with a few words of Old English from St Winefrid and explained that presentation, originality and engagement were the sought-after qualities from our speech-makers.

As ever, our catering staff provided a superb meal, starting with Waldorf Salad, following which our short speeches entertained the assembly. Ema Saglio, in a presentation entitled “Why Wait?” gave an impassioned plea not to fritter away our time, suggesting that procrastination was wasteful. Nathalie Loo, speaking under the intriguing title of “Calvin and Hobbes,” opened by quoting William James and provided a speech with humor and pathos, drawing on personal experiences and advising her audience to create memories. Jackson McNaught concluded the short speeches with “The Human ‘Race’” which questioned the entire premise of time flying and suggesting that it was a concept that compelled a consumer society.

After a magnificent main course of Beef Wellington, James Gibson opened the long speeches with “Time Flies, but the story doesn’t change.” In his second Lectern Club speech this year, James was confident, impassioned and highly engaging on the subject of historic abuses which repeat themselves and may continue to do so until society itself effects change and breaks the cycle. The final speech of the evening was delivered by another veteran of Lectern Club, Alex Harkins, in her presentation, “ a Social Life: the key to longevity.” Questioning some intuitive thoughts on longevity, Alex alluded to the examples of “blue zones” such as Sardinia where close relationships and social integration are the sine qua non of a happy, long-lived society. In a world where conventional conversation and social cohesion occur less frequently than ever, she reminded her audience that time is a commodity which is shared equally: everyone gets 24 hours each day, so carpe diem.

With the aid of guest judges, Isabelle Ferenczi and Roisin Sugrue, who won their respective categories at the last meeting, each of the speakers received feedback at the end of the meeting. The Master congratulated all who had taken part or who had supported the speakers and Jackson McNaught received the customary chocolates for his short speech, while the judges had to agree that James Gibson and Alex Harkins must share the prize for the evening’s long speech.

In the new academic year, we look forward to welcoming Jackson, James and Alex back to help the Master and Mrs Stevens launch the next round of Lectern Club.

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