Two sixth form students, Alex Jackson and Tara Drew were nominated to represent the young people of Honiton at the annual Mayor Making ceremony in St Rita’s Centre, Honiton on May 28th while Councillor David Foster was inaugurated as the town’s Mayor for 2012-13. Tara presented flowers to the wives of the Mayor and Deputy Mayor, and then Alex delivered a speech of welcome, recognising the importance of the role of Mayor to Honiton Community College and the Town’s youth. They were congratulated by the local MP, Mr Neil Parish and other councillors and Alex’s speech received well-justified praise for its content and delivery.
Mayor Making Speech - Alex Jackson
Lord Mayor, Councillor Whitlock, Councillors, Ladies and Gentlemen:
I would like to take this opportunity mainly to represent the young people of Honiton in two important tasks this evening: thanking Councillor Whitlock for his tireless work throughout the past year while he has been our Mayor and welcoming his successor, our new Mayor Councillor David Foster.
Whenever I see him around town, Councillor Foster, like the Councillor he is succeeding as Mayor, always has a smile on his face and he and his family are involved in the community in various ways. I believe that Councillor Foster’s enthusiasm, connection with the youth of Honiton and his job will all aid him in making significant progress for Honiton in what is such a great year for Britain bearing in mind the Olympics and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
I would also like to thank Councillor Vernon Whitlock for his work over the last year with the youth of Honiton in mind and the difference he has made on the town in general. Councillor Whitlock has supported the college throughout the year including the opening of the College’s new ITC studio complete with green screen technology and TV quality cameras. I would also like to thank the Town council as a whole for their input into the Youth Centre and their prevention of the introduction of fees to the service which is used and valued by so many young people. Equally our new mayor has also been involved with the college personally as a parent and also as a judge at a talent contest held last year.
Sometimes, on my way to school, I pass other residents who are walking their dogs or on their way to work and they look down or away and try to avoid eye contact. At first I couldn’t work out why this was happening and then it struck me, I was wearing a hoody or listening to an Ipod on every occasion that this happened. Since then I’ve been conscious that I am a member of the youth of Honiton and the brush that I ultimately get tarred with as a result. So when Tara and I were invited here tonight, I knew exactly what I wanted to say.
I am proud to be a member of the youth of Honiton. I am proud to represent the College and I am proud of the contributions that young people make in Honiton and society in general.
For example; a while ago, I went on a politics trip with the college. We had a guided tour of the Houses of Parliament followed by the chance to meet and debate with; our MP Neil Parish and the MP for Exeter Ben Bradshaw. Both of the MPs were so impressed with the questions we asked and the contributions we made during the debates and Ben Bradshaw invited some of our group to sit with him in the front row of the gallery of the House of Commons and watch a debate about Abu Quatada.
This is just one of the things that the students from the College have taken part in and succeeded at, there are many other examples of achievement at local, national and international levels. We are very grateful to have the chance to receive a Town Council Award as an acknowledgment for these achievements. Several of our students are, and have been involved with Sports and Drama at a National level. For example, Natasha Howard is part of the official welcoming team for the Olympic athletes this summer during her second year taking part in the National Youth Theatre. Similarly other students from our sixth form are also performing at a national level this year both with local theatre groups and the national youth music theatre. Another success story is Georgie Paul who is currently captaining the Welsh National Basketball team for her age group. At a more international level the college has taken part twice now, in trips to various countries in the world where students help communities by building schools, orphanages and other essential infrastructure that was not previously available. Some of our Year 13 leavers fund independent travel to extend their own experience, Aaron King for example is currently in Peru before undertaking his degree in Edinburgh reading Chemistry. As a College, we also look forward to forging new links with a school in Ethiopia following our Head and another staff member’s visit there earlier this year, Councillor Whitlock was also involved in their reciprocal visit to Honiton. These are just a few of our students’ and the college’s achievements and aspirations which the local community should be aware and proud of.
The College has also undergone a change this year in becoming an academy. Change is inevitable and although it is sometimes still dictated from the government, the change should always be prioritizing the needs of the students and enhancing their learning experience, the school is constantly striving to meet the needs of every student and their ultimate goal of ‘success for all’ which is so appropriate in a town with diversity like Honiton has. The College is proud of its reputation for guiding so many of its sixth form leavers into employment, apprenticeships and prestigious university places, but also setting them up with the skills necessary for life. After all many of our students will stay in or return to Honiton and the surrounding area and contribute to the local economy.
As a student I often hear from others that Honiton has nothing for young people and that despite the Youth Centre, there is a painful lack of facilities for young people meaning that we must go by Car, Bus or Train to Exeter which is increasingly costly. But the new community centre should go some way to fixing this issue providing it is fit for purpose and reasonably priced.
So the youth of Honiton have views and opinions on Honiton and although many of us are unable to vote, we are concerned about the future of our town because we are the future of our town and we are the ones who will live with the changes made now. We would like to continue to be good ambassadors for the college, respectful members of our community and achievers at every level - and although there is a significant minority who let us down in these goals, this is concurrent with every age group who live in and around Honiton, not just young people.
In conclusion, I would like to thank Councillor Whitlock for his hard work this year and on behalf of the College and the Youth of Honiton, welcome Councillor Foster to his new post and wish him every success in it.
Alex Jackson Year 12