15 September 2023
Portsmouth High School’s senior students were the proud recipients of achievement awards, certificates and cups this week as friends, family, pupils and staff from the school gathered for an evening of celebration.
Last year’s leavers returned to school to receive their awards before starting at universities later this month. Courses they are taking range from Modern Languages and English, International Relations and Politics to Real Estate, Psychology, Economics and Chemical Engineering.
Attended by the Deputy Lord Mayor of Portsmouth and Mayoress, Councillor Jason Fazackarley and Deputy Lady Mayoress, Miss Helen Mitchell, Mayor and Mayoress of Fareham, Councillor Fred Birkett and Mrs Lisa Birkett, Chair of Governors, Mrs Krysia Butwilowska, Councillor Chris Attwell and other distinguished guests, staff, parents and pupils.
Achievements were celebrated across the older year groups and girls received awards from sports and drama colours to Duke of Edinburgh Awards, music cups, social responsibility prizes and academic year prizes.
Headmistress, Mrs Jane Prescott, thanked Chair of Governors Mrs Butwilowska for her outstanding contribution to education:
‘Mrs Butwilowska has given over 50 years’ loyal service to the teaching profession; as an inspirational teacher, much respected Headmistress and loyal and wise Governor of schools across the UK not just PHS. Through her dedication, and passion for young people to achieve their potential, Mrs Butwilowska is a steadfast advocate of children’s education in the UK. All good things must come to an end and sadly for us, Mrs Butwilowska’s time as our Chair has almost come to an end and we must say farewell. We will miss her wisdom, knowledge, experience and most of all her friendship. She has been a loyal advocate of PHS and we cannot thank her enough for all she has given to Portsmouth High School.’
Head Girl, Priyanka, introduced the guest speaker, Commodore Alison Hofman, Royal Navy, Head of Navy Healthcare, who spoke to the audience about her career as a military nurse; joining the Royal Navy in 1989 to undertake student nurse training before qualifying as a Registered Nurse in 1992. She went on to qualify as a Critical Care Specialist in 1997 and later commissioned from the rank of Petty Officer, graduating from BRNC Dartmouth in 1999.
‘Don’t underestimate the grounding that your experiences at school give you in your future life and career,’ she told the pupils. ‘I didn’t reflect on this until later in my life – I was often called bossy – a term only really used to girls and women. I now know this was me showing my leaderships skills. Reflect on your experiences at school and use them to gain strength and shape the future you. Don’t underestimate yourself, you are capable of more than you ever imagined. Something that I think is more acceptable now than perhaps a few years ago is showing vulnerability in leadership. I was always conscious not to show my emotions, not to show any glimpse of struggling. I’ve grown into being comfortable with truly authentic leadership. I now strongly advocate that sharing my whole self builds stronger teams and provides a safe environment for all to thrive in. The challenge to you is not if the opportunities exist, but if you chose to take them. Embrace opportunities that are in front of you, be bold and whatever you’re doing today, do it with the confidence of a four year old wearing a batman t-shirt.’
The evening heard speeches from pupils including Sophie about Debating, Eve about Sustainability and Darcey and Maya about Cricket. There were musical interludes from pupils including Josephine who played Piano Sonata No 16 in C major from Allegro by Mozart and Sophie who played Juin: Barcarolle No 6 from Les saisons by Tchaikovsky.
Hannah, Year 12, received the Alisha Zaman Memorial Best Art Prize. This award has been established by annual donations from the family of the late Alisha Jenni Zaman, a student at Portsmouth High School 2004-2017 in loving memory of her time and growing up as a student from Year 1 to Year 13. This scholarship is inspired by Alisha’s wish to give something back to her school where she passed her childhood and early adulthood.
‘I am delighted to receive this prize in Alisha’s name,’ said Hannah. ‘Alisha certainly lives on at PHS and I am very honoured to have been awarded this prize.’