Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Last Day of School and Prize Giving (also hottest day of the year)

When we woke up this morning we knew it was going to be a scorcher.  The temps reached 95 F, which is unheard of in London.  We also woke up to thousands of bees swarming outside of our flat.  We quickly closed all of the windows to keep them out - bearing in mind that we don't have air conditioning. We're not sure what happened, but thankfully all but one were gone by mid-day.

Anyway, the main event for today was prize giving, also known as speech day.  From Ryan's perspective, it means the beginning of the summer holiday.  Prize giving is a formal affair with speeches by the headmaster, musical and dramatic performances, etc.  It ends with prizes.  This is Ryan's last year at the Junior Branch, so it had special meaning.

The prizes are almost always books - and sometimes the occasional trophy or cup.  Ryan won one of the top 3 prizes (the last to be handed out) - for overall academic achievement.  It's called the Foundation Award.  Shockingly, he also won the Language Prize. One of the fathers sitting in front of us good-naturedly muttered something like, "But Americans don't speak foreign languages".  Garett responded by saying that Ryan is bilingual in English and American.

Ryan also celebrated because his house, Simmons, won the House Cup.  Like Harry Potter, this is something the four houses compete for all year.  The margin of victory was only 13 points (!).

After prize giving the classes gathered on Hampstead Heath for a picnic.  The wiser groups chose to sit under the trees, but Ryan's class was under the blazing sun.

The boys didn't have to wear their blazers today because of the heat - no AC 

The prizes - per tradition they are awarded as books

Ryan with his two prizes - a French dictionary and a book about natural disasters

Kevin Douglas, former headmaster, and Ryan after the ceremony.  I like Mr Douglas' seersucker jacket!

A gloriously hot day on Hampstead Heath, with Kenwood House in the background.  Ryan is in the green t-shirt standing in the middle.

Garett and Ryan at the picnic - notice the water pistol in Ryan's hand.  All of his friends brought them along and they had a great time.

Lovely flowers outside of Kenwood House

After the picnic we had a two hour appointment with Charlotte at a bath shop.  It took us awhile to realize that Ryan had fallen asleep in one of the showroom bathtubs.  It's actually the one we selected, so I guess it's appropriate!

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