Valedictory Speech 2019

 

I’ve thought long and hard about writing a speech that was spirited, inspiring, and that left its mark on everybody here.Whether I managed that remains to be seen, but one thing I am certain of is that St David’s College left its mark on me, and for that I am very grateful.

I initially enrolled back in 2017 because of their stellar Performing Arts programme, something they didn’t offer at my school’s Sixth Form. It was here that I found courses I was so passionate about, and my educational needs were nurtured and aided in ways I will not forget. It was here that I met a wonderful, equally dramatic group of people in tune with my own interests and ambitions, who I am sure will be my friends for life. It was here that I made my first independent step, and in doing so, came into my own with a new sense of belonging.

Seeing myself and my peers embarking on their own college journeys has made me really appreciate all that St David’s is and does. In my two years I witnessed staff working tirelessly, sending us extra material and organising out-of-hours revision sessions to see us through our exams. I saw our chaplaincy team implementing the college’s religious ethos, while still being open to and respectful of all belief systems and walks of life, and instilling us with the faith and encouragement we all need from time to time. Mostly, I saw the tremendous effort made by careers advisers and mentors, guiding us through UCAS applications, apprenticeships and even gap year programmes.

Upon hearing that I was taking time out before drama school, they urged me to let them know if I needed any help with reapplication next year, which shows the true breadth of their ongoing support. In addition to treating us like adults, St David’s treated us like individuals, each with unique potential which with their help, we were able to unlock.
It’s been a wild and emotional ride for a lot of us, myself included, but I am incredibly lucky to have had the opportunities I did while at St David’s, from performing with my classmates in church services, student council led-events and variety shows, to delivering this speech today. No matter where I end up, I know St David’s helped me get there, regardless of who knows my name or my achievements.

So whether or not you feel like you did enough and left your mark in these fleeting years, what matters is that you were here, and in graduating, accomplished what you set out to do, hopefully a little surer of where you are headed. St David’s will always bind us, and the experiences we gained here, however small, have shaped the people we will become. I wish you all the best of luck.

 

- Rhian Holmes