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More than 600 guests attended this year’s Academy celebrations at Jesuit Mount St Mary’s College in Spinkhill, where highlights ranged from the first visit to the school by the Bishop of Hallam, the Right Reverend Ralph Heskett, to the college’s annual prize-giving ceremony.

Mount Saint Mary concert sThe festivities began on the Friday evening with the Academy Concert held in the college’s atmospheric memorial chapel, which featured many of the school’s multi-award-winning musicians.

Mount Saint Mary Harry Castle sThe soloists included three students who are now planning careers as professional musicians – Head Girl, Joanna Beach (trumpet), Head Boy, Harry Castle (violin) and Lily Frascina (French horn).

Addressing the audience at the end of the concert, Headmaster, Dr Nicholas Cuddihy, said he was literally lost for words at the outstanding quality of the evening’s musical performances, which he said would live long in the memory of everyone who attended the event.

Mount Saint Mary with Bishop Ralph sA packed programme of activities on Saturday also began in the memorial chapel, with a Mass celebrated by Bishop Ralph at which seven Mount St Mary’s pupils were confirmed.

Mount Saint Mary prizegiving sThis was followed by the prize-giving ceremony with VIP guest John Paul (JP) Morrison, Director of Education with the Diocese of Westminster.

In an amusing and well-received speech, Mr Morrison praised Jesuit schools like Mount St Mary’s for acting as a spiritual and moral lighthouse, shining a beacon that pupils could follow throughout their lives.

Headmaster, Dr Nicholas Cuddihy, said that the wide range of achievements that were being honoured at the ceremony demonstrated that the role of Mount St Mary’s is not simply to help pupils pass public examinations, but to nurture talent in all its forms.

The Academy weekend continued with hundreds of parents enjoying a picnic lunch in the school grounds, before settling down to enjoy the college’s annual sports day.

Mount Saint Mary sports day s

Guests then enjoyed a cream tea on the Headmaster’s lawn before the final act of Academy 2015, which saw the school’s upper sixth formers departing for their annual leavers’ ball in Sheffield on a vintage bus.

Mount Saint Mary leavers ball s

Meanwhile, it was revealed that collections during the weekend for the Jesuit Missions Nepal Appeal had raised almost £1,700 to help victims of the recent earthquake.

Looking back at the programme of activities Headmaster, Dr Nicholas Cuddihy, said, “This was my first Academy weekend as I only joined Mount St Mary’s at the start of this school year, and I have to say that the event was even better than I was expecting. Each part of the programme was exceptionally well supported, and there was a lovely atmosphere throughout as the whole school community joined together to celebrate the academic, artistic and sporting successes of our pupils.  Overall, the whole weekend was about paying tribute to their growth and development during their time at Mount St Mary’s.  I would like to thank all our staff and students for their contribution to the success of Academy 2015,” added Dr Cuddihy. “Now the challenge is to make the event even bigger and better for next year.”