Head Boy’s Prize Day Speech

Head Boy, Cameron Baker, delivered his speech at 2017’s Prize Day as he prepared to leave the School. Cameron now goes onto study Music at York University.

As I stand here delivering my final speech at NSB, I have to say that it is a rather surreal moment.  I have been at this school since I was 4 years old so NSB has been and always will be a major part of my life. I remember being quiet and lacking in confidence when I was sitting where you younger boys are. If you don’t believe me ask Mrs. Woosnam! NSB has given me so many opportunities. I can remember going on outward bound trips to the Lake district; the fun of Castle Day in Year 2 and being able to perform at the Northern Stage as part of the Shakespeare for Schools festival. The problem, however, with being at an all-boys school is that I was made to play the leading lady three years in succession, but I guess it has stood me in good stead!

The trips that I’ve been able to experience with the school have been amazing. The experience of playing rugby with ‘the Blue’ in South Africa in front of several hundred people and managing to silence the crowd by scoring twice was unforgettable. And then there was the trip to Poland…not only did I learn about a new culture but I also experienced one of the best nights of my life. When I recounted this story to Mr Caulfield the next day, I could see him thinking of all sorts of possibilities.  He was very relieved when I told him I had experienced a jazz club for the first time!

To all the younger boys – when you get older and you have the opportunity to take part in the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme, can I urge you to do so. I have managed to complete my gold award and, whilst some of the expeditions were seriously challenging, I’ve not only learnt a lot about myself but also had such a laugh in the process. And this is where Mr Drax comes in…

Not only has he sent us out into conditions which Bear Grylls would have politely declined, but he has made us endure his unique sense of humour, including introducing us to his concept of ‘dead ants’ as he demonstrated in our final assembly. I’m not sure I would have completed my gold award without his passion and commitment. We had a very close team during our expeditions and created some lifelong memories, some of which my friends might want to forget!

A particular highlight from this year has been the house music competition. I’m delighted to say that this year the mighty Ascham house finally won, something that I was determined to do before I left. I think that the concept of house music sums up what life has been like for me at NSB. Through the use of music and team spirit you are able to bring people together in a creative but challenging way in order to bring the best out of everyone. And you have a lot of fun along the way.  I even went to the lengths of creating my musical alter ego ‘Baz’ who was the first and probably last school rapper and went on to release two albums on Spotify and iTunes.

I’ve always seen NSB as a family. School has helped me mature and develop, but done so in a really caring and supportive manner. I particularly remember my classes in Junior School with Mr Edge and Mr Coughtrie. The fact that Mr Coughtrie, who retired several years ago, is still here supporting me today typifies the ethos of NSB.  I can’t mention all the fantastic support and guidance that I’ve had from every teacher but in more recent years there are two who have stood out, both of whom have played a major role in helping me along my journey. For the past 4 years, he has been my form tutor, supporter, encourager and someone who has helped me overcome several personal challenges. You have been a massive help and I am very grateful. Thank you, Mr. Caulfield.

Down the years many of you will have heard me perform at various concerts and Prize Days. Music is a massive part of my life and that passion has been shaped and guided by one of the most musically talented people I’ve met. He has helped me discover many different genres of music and has pushed me out of my comfort zone in order to help me develop and improve. He has also encouraged Jack Pearson and myself to perform at various live gigs and events and, if anyone is interested, we will continue to be available if required. Just send any requests of interest to The Grove, care of Mr D Tickner. This teacher has been such a huge influence on me throughout my time at NSB and someone whom I will always remember and whom I will keep in touch with. Thank you, Mr Hopkinson.

So what has NSB given me? It has helped me develop my confidence, taught me about leadership and given me some friends for life but, most importantly, I have some incredible memories.  Oh, and I hope they have also helped me pass my A levels! I know that the future is bright for the school. Next year, there will be the new sixth form centre with new faces around school, as well as my replacement Tom Quigley who I know will do a fantastic job. If I could give a couple of bits of advice to younger students, take every opportunity that the school offers you, whether it be on the sports field, in the classroom or a chance to step outside your comfort zone and never give up even when it seems the easier option, because it always pays off.

Thank you and I hope you all have a fantastic holiday.

Over 95% of boys achieving all A* to C grades at GCSE*

*based on 2015 results

I’ve always seen NSB as a family. School has helped me mature and develop but done so in a really caring and supportive manner.