This Wednesday’s assembly at St Mary’s School marked a special occasion for the children, with their new student council welcomed in before the whole school and Henley Town Mayor, Councillor Julian Brookes. It was also an opportunity to celebrate the previous council and thank them for their contribution to the school.
Headmaster Rob Harmer opened the assembly by inviting the leaving councillors to stand up and receive a warm round of applause from their peers. The newly elected council were then brought to the front and presented with their appointment letters by Mr. Brookes.
When asked how they felt about being selected, the overwhelming response from the new council was one word – happy. Jessica Reed summed up it up beautifully when she expressed, “I am happy because everyone trusts me and is happy to talk to me.” The excitement was not without a few nerves for some, with one young councillor describing that she was “a bit scared” (although “mostly happy!”). However, Mr. Brookes was on hand to prepare them for dealing with their responsibilities. “It’s important to take them seriously,” he explained, “as you’ll earn the respect of your classmates.”
Mr. Brookes also shed a light on the reality of being a representative for a community. “To make everyone happy? I think the word impossible applies!” he announced. “It’s an art form – listening to people and trying to make the best decision for the town.” The children were given some valuable insight into holding a position of power, as he advised, “I don’t try and make people listen to me; I try and do the listening.”
The floor was then opened to all students to ask Mr. Brookes about his experiences as the Mayor. Questions flew in, with the children keen to know what you have to do to become the Mayor, how long you can be Mayor for, and even where the Mayor lives! One astute student asked whether the sign for the ‘Town Mayor’, behind the Town Hall, marked his home – but had unwittingly identified the Mayor’s reserved parking space. Mr. Brookes smiled, stating, “I assure you it’s one of the best perks of being the Mayor.”
The students already seem keen to make a difference, with the suggestion of a meeting being set up with Mr. Brookes to discuss the children’s ideas for the flowers and wildlife within the town.
St Mary’s School would like to congratulate all members of their new student council: William Harding, Matilda Darah, Arthur Massie, Lily Wildgoose, Jessica Reed, Jack Woodbridge, Sienna Wright, Charlotte Broom, Harry Butterworth, Tristan Clark-Lam, Nick Rainboth, Jane Norbury, Max Jobson, and Conal Thomspon.
Moreover, thanks go out to the leaving council members: Ella Crayford, Finn Pearman, Isabella Vanstone, Ollie Bodle, Oscar Scannell, Charlie Oldham, James Pearman, Harrison Blumfield, Anna Briggs, Lucy Triptree, Tilly Biggs and Genevieve McLellan.