CSGS News reporters were out in force for the official opening of Chis and Sid’s new Legacy Building. Read on to find out all about what happened on the day from Liam in year 11 and do also make sure you check out our other posts for video interviews with a variety of the invited guests- including an in-depth conversation with Olympic medal winner Steve Backley.
In a day commencing with anticipation and culminating in pride, Mayor of London and MP Boris Johnson opened the new BMW Olympic Legacy Building. In an official ceremony in what will be the new Sixth Form study centre, Mr Johnson, Councillor O’Neill (Head of Bexley Council), James Brokenshire MP, Stephen Backley OBE and the Mayor of Bexley headed the guest list in what will be remembered as one of the most significant and memorable events in recent history for Chislehurst and Sidcup Grammar School.
Johnson, chauffeured by Headmaster Mr Walker from Sidcup train station, was immediately greeted by school captains Madeleine Legemah and Emmanuel Okolo. They introduced the Mayor to the Head of Marlborough School and students from both schools. A lengthy parade of students and staff itching to catch a glimpse of the outgoing Mayor followed the Headmaster to the Legacy Building. Excitement fluttered in the air.
Following the Head of Sixth Form, Mrs Skelton, welcoming the guests, Key Stage 3 students took to the stage to present a slick and professional short dramatic production. The Marlborough School Sixth Form Choir then sang ‘Wonder’ by Emeli Sande in a moving and passionate performance. Marlborough is a school for children with serious learning difficulties and whether it was a student going up to ‘high five’ Boris Johnson at the end of the song, or the combination of singing and sign language, their act sent tingles of pride and emotion down the spine of all those present.
The Legacy Building will facilitate Marlborough students as well as year twelve and thirteen pupils from Chis and Sid. It is hoped that the new facilities will enable many current part-time students to be able to become full time students as the building will make the school more medically proficient. The relationship between the two schools has continued to grow in a unique and heart-warming way, symbolic of the great companionship between staff and students from both schools. This partnership of education and friendship is taking the experience of school to the next level.
Boris expressed his great satisfaction at how the Olympic legacy is still being felt in London and was keen to raise the point that Newham -the borough home to the Olympic Village- now boasts the fastest growing housing market in London. Clearly, people in Bexley and Newham further north, amongst others, are still benefiting from Boris’ defining event in his tenure as Mayor. But overall, Johnson is pleased that the bettered infrastructure in the capital in recent years is helping young people in a wide variety of ways through education and leisure. His political opinions spark controversy and debate, but Johnson cannot be accused of turning down a photograph or a question up until the point when his press secretary (an old Sedcopian himself) drew the Mayor’s attention elsewhere. His welcoming and friendly approach is a refreshing sight and in contrast to some other public figures.
Interestingly, he hinted his political career may be approaching the final stretch as he makes way for the next generation.
Councillor O’Neil, the leader of Bexley Council, addressed the crowd and explained her delight at the new building being opened. She also stated that the £1 to buy the building was the best £1 spent in the council’s budget – a fact hard to argue with. There would be a strong argument suggesting that maybe it’s the best £1 Bexley Council have ever spent! Needless to say, the support of the council was highlighted by all who were aware of the intricacies of the project’s financial requirements.
Headmaster, Mr Walker, handed speech duties over to the School Captains Madeleine Legemah and Emmanuel Okolo, but he could have added very little indeed; the students are too good to hide from the public eye. They spoke of their pride and the educational adventure they will continue in the new facility, as well as offering their thanks to donors who have helped with Mr Walker’s vision of bringing the BMW pavilion to Chis and Sid into a reality. Their sophistication and calmness echoed with confidence and, as accurately pointed out by Madeleine, the new building really will fulfil the school’s mission statement and help the learners of today become the leaders tomorrow.
In a momentous day for all at Chis and Sid and Marlborough School, the simple, yet inspiring words of Mr Walker will remain vividly clear in the minds of everyone: “All I can ask of the students is hard work, and if they deliver this, the sky really is the limit.” Together, the intellectual curiosity of the students and the stunning new two storey building seems destined to take Chislehurst and Sidcup Grammar School to new heights.