100 Years of Faith and Works

By Lucy Pilling and Elizabeth Stephenson Year 13.

Bacup and Rawtenstall Grammar school looked more impressive than usual on the night of the 20th of September. The main school building was lit up with spotlights which ensured that all attention that night was focused on the school and its celebrations. The cause for a party was that the school was celebrating 100 years of education, held at the nearby Waterfoot primary school and, by quarter to seven, already people young and old were queuing to celebrate the centenary.

The fireworks show wasn’t the only entertainment for the night as we enjoyed excellent music from the Bacup and Ratwenstall Jazz Band and Concert Band as well as energetic dance performances from students. Waterfoot Primary School's playground was cram-packed with cake sales as well as fair ground rides and games. Because if a party doesn't have a hook-a-duck stall, well then it isn't really a party is it?

We asked some of the students, teachers and other guests at the centenary celebration night what they thought of Bacup and Rawtenstall Grammar School and the centenary. Mr Elkington, who is the Head of the Sixth Form at BRGS, was more than thrilled to be involved in the centenary celebrations it seemed. When we asked him what he thought of the centenary he told us, 'I think it's just fantastic, to be at the school at the point where it celebrates its 100 year anniversary. It is just such a special experience'. He continued on to speak of what he believes BRGS does for the community, 'I think it's one of the land marks of Rossendale. I think it's a real beacon and something that Rossendale should be proud of, because what it does is it takes ordinary young people and widens their aspirations and enables them to achieve great things.'

Head Girl Anna Ainsworth told us, she “had been attending BRGS since year 7,” currently in year 13 studying her A levels she continued, “BRGS has done so much for me. Obviously it has got me through my school work and GCSEs but it has done a lot more than that. There’s been a lot of extracurricular and clubs to join, from musical classes to all my favourite sports and to other bizarre activities such as wood carving. I also took part in the Duke of Edinburgh scheme and  I’ve completed Bronze and Silver and on my way to completing Gold too. I think the Duke of Edinburgh is a big thing valued greatly at BRGS. Loads of the students get involved and there’s so much we can all achieve from it. I think BRGS does a lot for our community. I joined in with the conservation work going on which involved laying stones and cutting plants but more important things like we cleaned out Tricketts memorial ground before the Remembrance Day services. There’s also the enrichment activities that year 12 students take part in on Wednesday afternoon.  There’s a lot of volunteer work and work experience that students get the opportunity to do outside of school, including helping out in the local primary schools, charity shops and old people’s homes.

Everyone has invested in BRGS, the teachers don’t just come to work and then go home, everyone comes together and joins in and that’s why at an event like this the teachers and the students are all getting along and working together, there’s a unity which sounds really cheesy but it’s true.”

When talking about the centenary event itself Anna told us, “It’s really fun there is so much going on, it was pretty surreal in assembly this morning because everyone sang happy birthday to the school, and there was even birthday cake and chocolate for everyone! The amount of people that I’ve spoken to today that have been here and their grandparents came here too is remarkable. People keep sending their children here as they want to return themselves. I’d definitely come to an event like this once I’d left, not just to see all my friends again but to see which teachers are still here and to visit my old classrooms and reminisce about times I had there.”

The school’s Head Boy Saumitra Mishra told us, “It has been an amazing opportunity to see all the past students and to be part of something so vibrant and important to the history of BRGS.” Dayna Rafferty the Deputy Head girl told us she thought the event was “a great occasion to showcase the school and bring the community together.” A parent of a past student told us how their child had succeeded in getting into the University of his choice and added that “BRGS is a fantastic school. All the league tables tell us it’s one of the best schools in Lancashire, and it has a great positive work ethic.”

The school ended the anniversary evening by hosting a fireworks show that no doubt was seen for miles around. The centenary was a chance to show how far BRGS has come as a school and also proves just how much it can continue to prosper within the next one hundred years. There was a great atmosphere about the evening and plenty to do for all age groups; BRGS had proved itself as a truly magnificent school and sixth form once again.