Matthew Burns

SIXTH FORMER GRACE SHAW SPEAKS AT 1525 LUNCH

On Saturday, Grace Shaw (R, L6) was invited to speak to Old Sedberghians at the 1525 lunch in Queen’s Hall.

The 1525 Society has more than 220 members and is probably the largest legacy society of any independent school in the country. Two lunches per year take place in Sedbergh and London – 50 people attended the lunch in Sedbergh and another 50 will attend a lunch at Kew Gardens this week.

Grace Shaw, an academic scholar, here studying AS Geography, Biology, French and Maths, was invited to talk by Headmaster Andrew Fleck. She talked about the new perspective that being at Sedbergh had given her and how meeting members of the society, and seeing how the spirit of comradeship was still so evident, had made her feel honoured to be part of such an inspiring community.

Grace is from New York and came to Sedbergh at the beginning of the academic year from her school in the United Arab Emirates. She said: “I heard about Sedbergh from a fellow pupil who had already made the move and I wanted to come to explore my talents, benefit from the opportunities available and to explore a different environment.

Coming from somewhere dry, with cloudless skies, everyone here thinks I’m crazy when I run outside to feel the rain on my skin! The culture shock extended beyond the weather and scenery though – I had no idea until I came here that a Yorkshire Pudding is not a pudding at all!”

Grace talked about the change of coming to live in a valley, where pupils at the school run the ten-mile Wilson as if it’s nothing, and remarked on the welcome she had from teachers. “What strikes me is the spirit of involvement here – it’s all about exceeding the minimum. I now feel equipped for the future and that I can face it wholeheartedly.”

Headmaster Andrew Fleck said: “I invited Grace to speak because she is new into the school and retains a degree of objectivity, and also because she has come to Sedbergh from the USA via Al Ain in the UAE. Therefore she has a real breadth of experience. She has also thrown herself into a wide range of activities; as a musician and actress and on the sports field, so she has fully embraced the Sedbergh ethos. She is also delightful company, an excellent conversationalist and a good speaker.

I was delighted with the event, it is always good to hear Old Sedberghians’ stories and their reflections about the influence of the School on their lives. Grace spoke well and gave a very real insight into the life of a busy pupil. They were delighted to listen to her – she certainly upstaged me!”

Norman Berry, former President of the 1525 Society, said: “As an overseas pupil from the US and with no previous experience of boarding, it was particularly interesting to hear how Grace had managed to settle in and establish herself in a relatively strange environment. Of course, one was delighted by the enthusiasm with which Grace had evidently taken to life at Sedbergh and to its surroundings. Equally it was apparent in some of her remarks that Grace finds the rigour of academic opportunities at Sedbergh stimulating; ‘great minds talk of ideas, while the mediocre talk of events and the weak-minded talk about people’ she asserted (or words to that effect). Speaking with just the odd note to refer to, Grace spoke with confidence and with a feeling for Sedbergh that could not fail to touch the hearts of Old Sedberghains present.” 

Grace concluded by thanking the benefactors for their on-going support and said that seeing the comradeship amongst Old Sedberghians, and how strong it still is after so many years, rubbed off on her. “It is truly inspiring.”

Of course, one was delighted by the enthusiasm with which Grace had evidently taken to life at Sedbergh and to its surroundings. Equally it was apparent in some of her remarks that Grace finds the rigour of academic opportunities at Sedbergh stimulating; ‘great minds talk of ideas, while the mediocre talk of events and the weak-minded talk about people’ she asserted (or words to that effect). Speaking with just the odd note to refer to, Grace spoke with confidence and with a feeling for Sedbergh that could not fail to touch the hearts of Old Sedberghains present.” 

Grace concluded by thanking the benefactors for their on-going support and said that seeing the comradeship amongst Old Sedberghians, and how strong it still is after so many years, rubbed off on her. “It is truly inspiring.”

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