THE GREATEST SHOWMAN
Staff handed over to pupils for this year's CE Day.
On May 9th 2018, the Headmaster, Mark Mortimer, tweeted this message:
‘Very pleased with the new sign above the stage inside the Thomas Arnold Hall. A constant reminder of an important message about ambition and perseverance.’
The sign he was referring to was WHY NOT YOU? A message that has been at the centre of his leadership ever since arriving at Warminster School in 2014.
CE Day is always a day for our Houses to compete against each other and show off their talents. Each House was asked to create, budget and successfully imagine three challenges, to be known as “Why Not You’s”, for the Headmaster to perform on camera.
Known for his own personal goal-setting, the Headmaster has been at the cutting edge of physical and mental stamina since an early age. But was there anything that would push him outside of his comfort zone?
Mark Sully, Deputy Head (Academic) said: “We wanted to give our pupils the opportunity to 'think outside the box' and think creatively. What would make the Headmaster step outside of his comfort zone? Very little we thought… could they investigate and come up with something that would take him into his stretch and panic zone? CE Day 2018 was constructed so that nobody, not even the Headmaster, knew what was involved. We wanted the element of surprise and to fulfil many educational demands: from collaboration between year groups, creative thinking, budgeting, health and safety understanding and presentation skills. Pupils had to think on their feet and I can’t say that there wasn’t also an element of fun for the staff and pupils imagining ways they could get their own back with a creative Why Not You? for the Headmaster in his last year at Warminster. The Houses worked well together and came up with imaginative pitches and ideas.”
The day started with a big reveal and the opening of three large gold envelopes. Simultaneously delivered to each of the Houses. After the initial surprise had worn off, pupils rolled up their sleeves and prepared to come up with the best Why Not You? The Houses battled it out and worked frantically to come up with a worthy challenge. Exchanging ideas, fierce debating thrown into the mix and coming up with a scenario that would stretch the Headmaster. They fought hard and pitched to a panel of carefully selected judges:
Julian Thomas, Master of Wellington College - in April 2017 Julian joined our Headmaster in completing the Marathon Des Sables, a gruelling 6 day, 156 mile ultramarathon across the Sahara Desert.
Katie Mines, Bursar - has performed a static line parachute jump as part of her DofE Gold. In September this year she jumped from a great height into the ocean, which is ranked as her number 2 fear behind spiders.
Rick Clarke, Deputy Head - appointed by the Headmaster as his ‘right hand man’ four years ago, also no stranger to challenges having climbed to Everest Base Camp.
Old Verlucian, Esther Kirrage - appointed by the Headmaster as his Head Girl for the 2015-2016 academic year. A Philosophy student in her final year at Royal Holloway University and 'commutes' between London and Dubai and is always up for a challenge.
The winner of CE Day was Arnold House for the fourth consecutive year. However, as the judges were impressed with all of the House pitches they decided that ALL of the live ideas would be incorporated to create a Speech Day ‘mash-up’. On 25th May 2019 during Speech Day ceremonial events, the Headmaster will take part in his live ‘Why Not You?' organised by the community of the School and voted for by our judging panel. We will see the Headmaster, assisted by staff and pupils dancing a Salsa, performing a rap and singing a song from The Greatest Showman. He is already seeking advice from Caroline Robinson and the Music Department!
The Headmaster commented, "It was a tremendous, innovative and collaborative day. Ostensibly about making me step out of my comfort zone, it was lovely to see so many pupils working together and creatively stepping out of theirs. Which of course was the point!"
Thank you to the Houses, our judges and the Headmaster for being such a good sport.