A high-flying former student returned to his Ellesmere Port high school for their presentation evening.
Jai Dillon, now a pilot with British Airways, was back at Ellesmere Port Catholic High six years after sitting in the same hall collecting his A level results and seven years after standing on the other side of the stage introducing that year’s guest of honour.
Mr Dillon said it was a huge honour to have been invited back: “So much change has happened in the school since I left and I have had so many exciting opportunities in my career to date which was aided by the opportunities I grasped whilst in school.
“First of all I want you to realise that this evening isn’t about me being here, it’s not about your parents, it’s not even about your teachers, it’s about you, the students and celebrating your talents, skills and success,” he suggested.
“Every single person sitting in front of me now is capable of doing what they want to do.
“That doesn’t mean to say it will be easy to get there but it also doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.”
He pointed out he had the privilege of looking forward to going to work every single day and continued: “I love my job and all I could want is for everybody sitting in front of me to be able to say the same thing in several years’ time.
“From a very early age I knew that this is what I wanted to do and if you are ever taught by any of my teachers and asked them they would all say exactly the same, from the day I joined this school I knew I wanted to be a pilot.
“My advice to you all is to believe in yourself and research what you want to do.
“Accept that it may be hard but think of the rewards and pride when you get to where you want to be.”
He concluded: “I take great pride this evening in being here and able to present the students of this school with the certificates of their success and wish you all huge success and achievements in the future. Thank you and once again congratulations.”
Headteacher Mrs Caroline Vile said: “Presentation evening is a very special event. It is an occasion when we are able to focus upon and celebrate the achievements and work of our students and staff.”
She pointed that 2015/16 had been the Jubilee Year of Mercy ‘and it is good to take time to celebrate and reflect on the many gifts we have received’.
Students had shown ‘wonderful acts of mercy’ including raising money for the homeless, writing letters to the vulnerable, sending presents to refugees and supporting older residents.
She continued: “This past year our achievements have been celebrated with many awards as well as national recognition by the head of Ofsted Sir Michael Wilshaw.”
The culmination of the year had seen some ‘outstanding’ examination results and at GCSE level a ‘stunning’ 72% of students gained 5A* - C grades.
The sixth form achieved ‘excellent’ results combined with outstanding Oxbridge and Russell Group university successes for a number of students. Higher achievers were in the top 1% in the country.
Mrs Vile added: “We are exceptionally proud of all of our students and the progress they have all made during their time with us.”