Valedictory Speech 2018

On Thursday 6th September, St David's College held its fifth annual Leavers' Ceremony at St David’s Metropolitan Cathedral. This celebrated the achievements of those students who attended the College during academic year 2017-2018.

We also recognised our new scholarship winners: students who have just begun their journey with us, who have demonstrated exemplary academic achievements, or display commendable contributions to their community.  

During the ceremony, former English Literature, German and Performing Arts student, Cerith Freeman, delivered a fantastic Valedictory speech. Here is what he had to say about his time at St David's:

My St David’s story starts a little sooner than most – it’s been about twelve years in the making. As the venue for various theatre groups of which I have been a part since I was as young as six, I have developed a real appreciation for the College. Once I became a student at St David's, my appreciation just grew. It was truly a privilege to attend such a fantastic institution just a stone throw away from my home.

I would like to thank the College and its staff, first and foremost, for making my transition from high school to the College such a welcoming and pleasant one. At a time when fewer and fewer schools are offering modern foreign languages at A Level and funding for the arts is at an all-time low, I was supported and even encouraged to pursue my passion for those subjects.

St David’s is remarkable in its ability to offer such a wide range of subjects and tailor the college experience for each individual student. Studying English Literature and German alongside a BTEC in Performing Arts, for example, gave me a very broad scope of study, while still allowing each subject to complement one another. German grammar allowed me to decipher Chaucer’s perplexing Middle English and the analytical skills I developed in English allowed me to delve deeper into the characters I portrayed on the Performing Arts course. Allowing students to identify the skills they are developing and utilise them at College and again in their university application is one of the College’s many fortes.

It is a little surreal standing here today giving the Valedictory speech, as I was lucky enough to stand up here just two years ago to receive an academic scholarship for the College. I am eternally grateful for the scholarship, as it allowed me to take the time I needed to get the best results I could come exam season, as well as the ability to fund various singing, dancing and piano lessons. This money turned out to be a major contributor to my acceptance to Bird College, and for that I cannot thank the College enough.

I’d like to congratulate this year’s winners of both the Academic Achievement and Contribution to the Community scholarships. Use them wisely and try not to spend them all at once!

This year, I also got to represent the College on an international level. In January, I went to Stuttgart with the German department on an exchange trip with one of the College’s partner schools, the Ferdinand-Porsche Gymnasium Zuffenhausen. I am thankful that I was able to experience such a wonderful cultural exchange as one of the countless opportunities the College has to offer.

In March, when the German students came to St David’s, I was able to see the College for the first time once more and appreciate it objectively; and although they missed the College’s excellent production of Rock of Ages due to the snow, they agreed that it was a great place to learn.

As we say our final goodbye to St David’s, I urge you all to think about your own college experience and to reflect on all the things that got you here. Regardless of the path you will choose to take from here on, be it university, college, an apprenticeship or work, we are all united by our College’s continued support and enthusiasm. I am thankful for all the great people I met while at St David’s, and I can’t wait to see what the future will bring for each and every one of them.