A Brief History of Time at Manchester High

By November 12, 2019 Manchester Community News

Renowned physicist leads Manchester High School for Girls pupils on a journey through time at its annual celebration and awards evening.

Manchester High School for Girls embarked on a journey through time during its Celebration and Awards Evening at The Bridgewater Hall. The annual event recognises the achievements, effort, progress and commitments of pupils, as well as honouring those who have made significant contributions to the wider school community.

Former pupil Fay Dowker, Professor of Theoretical Physics at Imperial College London, was the guest of honour and spoke candidly about her time at Manchester High, her career to date and the chosen theme of the evening: Time.

In her address, Fay recalled her mathematics and physics lessons with Mrs Mary Lomas and Mrs Anne Stevenson, who were both in attendance for the speech. She commented: “I was incredibly fortunate to be taught by brilliant female teachers who inspired me with their knowledge and passion. 43 years have passed since I started at Manchester High and I can still remember Mrs Lomas clicking her fingers as she said ‘these equations should be at your fingertips, girls!’ Rest assured, I made certain they were!”

As a leading theoretical physicist, who studied for her PhD at Cambridge under the late Professor Stephen Hawking, Fay was incredibly well-placed to talk about the theme of the evening.

She told pupils: “The essential and undisputable thing about time is that it doesn’t stop. It is special and important, both for you as individuals and for humanity collectively. I encourage you to take time to understand your place in the universe and how you will influence the future. Each of you have a unique thread to weave into the tapestry of the world, but only time will tell what that tapestry will show.”

Mrs Claire Hewitt, overseeing her final Celebration and Awards Evening as headmistress before her retirement in August 2020, thanked and congratulated pupils for their ongoing contributions to Manchester High:

“When I looked back at everything that had happened during the last academic year, I was worried that this ceremony would go on for too long! From our involvement in the unveiling of the Emmeline Pankhurst statue to the outstanding performance of Billy Elliot and being named North West Independent School of the Year by The Sunday Times, it’s been a year that everybody associated with Manchester High will remember for a very long time.

Mrs Hewitt also paid a special tribute to the wider school community: “I joined this wonderful school in January 2009 and I am grateful to everyone who has made the last 10 and a half years so successful and enjoyable. I want to say a special thank you to pupils for inspiring me on a daily basis, to the staff for their expertise and dedication, and to the parents for entrusting Manchester High with the education and care of your daughters.

“There are still 323 days until I retire, so there’s plenty of time for me to enjoy the MHSG journey and I intend to make the most of the time!”

Mrs Helen Jeys, currently head at Alderley Edge School for Girls, will become the 11th headmistress of Manchester High from 1st September 2020.

Throughout the evening, the school orchestra, wind band and choirs performed, with highlights including the performance of ‘Raise your Voice’ by the cast of Sister Act and the senior choir. Georgia Guepel, winner of the Warburton Music Prize, also took to the stage and gave a spellbinding performance of ‘I’ll Know’ from Guys and Dolls and ‘Moments in the Woods’ from Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods.

Image: Professor Fay Dowker, Claire Hewitt, Elizabeth Spence, Chair of Governors and the Head Girl Team.

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