20 Jul

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This is the last blog of this academic year and as such I wanted to make it super special. I’ve therefore asked Matthew to complete a ‘guest blog’. Over to you, Matty:

Firstly, I want to place on record my thanks to Mr Quinn for not just letting me guest write this blog but also for accepting my admission all the way back in June 2013. 1,782 days later, I am formally leaving New Bridge to undertake the next chapter of the rollercoaster that is life.

New Bridge has been a rollercoaster journey in itself. I entered a stubborn young boy who would quite often be carried in after losing in a chase against Mr Meadows and Mr Neagle. How anyone saw potential for me to enter the sports pathway, please let me know! The Nurture Group era was perhaps the most fun. One day, I would be starring in a Hollywood blockbuster; the next would involve taking time out to consider my actions. Quite the life of Hollywood movie stars these days.

As you may know, I have spent the last four years in the Sports Pathway. Sport runs within our family. Past generations of the family competed in various sports and my late grandfather held great responsibility as former groundsman at Watersheddings and Boundary Park. Although I was in really good shape for someone who didn’t enjoy participation as much as I do now. I remember my first competition; the Greater Manchester Disability Games when I represented New Bridge in its second team for the day. I’m not going to lie; I didn’t have that ‘I did it’ moment but I did what I have done in every sporting appearance, lesson or extra-curricular activity by putting in 100%.

That is what Activ8 is all about, we are not a group who play football all day. We go out and push ourselves mentally and physically beyond the limit. We break barriers and we definitely don’t quit. Quitting is an insult to the many others who go through difficulty but find positives. Over the last four years, there have been many challenges and one of those was trying not to laugh when Mr Greenway pulled his famous chicken impression on our Year 11 residential (it wasn’t as high as people made out, honestly).

However, my biggest achievement was kick-starting the ‘New Bridge student revolution’. The New Bridge leadership took a massive risk in starting the Head Boy’s blog, three years ago (you can still read all the entries here). Yet it is something that we as a school community have prospered upon. Many of the most read blogs of all time have come from students. Recently, the Student Council designed the prospective ties for the evolution of the New Bridge uniform. These blogs were not written with the intention of passing some time or giving myself publicity, there are many other ways and means in which to do that, but to engage the Student Body. When I joined New Bridge, few were inspired to be Head Boy. Now, that has changed.

So, on to the actual bit you are here to read, the bit where I cry behind my computer screen as I exclaim my thanks to everyone. My full appreciation must go to all the staff tasked with the responsibility of making sure that I remained on task. Now, they are quite a list but as it is my last day, there is no other chance to name and shame. So, Mr Goup, Mr Howard and Mr Holland from Maths; Mrs Hobson from English and even Mr Handrick who once took us out on Outdoor Education back in the Nurture Group days – thank you. Your lessons captivated and even gave me some hilarious moments that I even chuckle at to this very day…

Yet my biggest thanks must go to the trio of staff who braved themselves to go on duty in the war zone that was the New Bridge car park every morning. Mr and Mrs Meadows and Mr Greenway. Not just teachers but sometimes life coaches and counsellors. They personally took their time from their busy schedules to challenge me and give me the tools to be at this very point.

So, my final message. This organisation was a two-site job back when I started. Hollinwood Academy wasn’t there, it was just empty, barren land. Medtia was occupied by First Choice Homes. Future Finders and work placements were just manifesto dreams at the time. The work to launch all these institutions with such confidence has been amazing and full praise must be bestowed on Mr Quinn and his leadership team. However, Mr Quinn, Mr Lyons, Mr Wood, Miss Allison and the numerous other staff were students once. They have difficult moments in their lives, just like us. Yet not once did they quit. If New Bridge can achieve what they have as a team, then the world is your oyster.

Thank you sincerely from the bottom of my heart; especially to my parents for not regretting making me. Yet. Also, to my partner in crime of just over a year, Bobbie. They say it’s difficult having Asperger’s and coping with relationships. They are not joking. Finally, to everyone who has ever read, liked and shared the blogs. Your comments cheered me up in difficult times.

You are forever my home and I will be back some day,

Matthew

Can I take this opportunity to thank all our amazing staff teams, our families, our governors and trustees – you really make a difference.

Let’s be proud of our schools in Oldham and Tameside – they are some of the best schools in the country – and let’s salute our brilliant post 19 organisations.

To finish the school year, I’m delighted to introduce Lauren, my fiercest blog critic..

Have a wonderful summer,

Graham

You can find all Graham’s previous blog entries here