by Lisa Chapman
On Friday afternoon Yourthurrock were invited to attend the official opening of Gateway Academy. We were very impressed at the way this ran like clock work considering that the ceremony was to culminate in the release of approximately 800 balloons by the Academy’s students and guests and nobody had anticipated that this would be one of the windiest days we have experienced recently.
The centrepiece for the formalities was the sculpture in the massive courtyard, depicting a mother embracing a child, which was wrapped in blue, red, green and yellow ribbons, the colours of the four Academy “colleges”. A small stage was set up for those honoured to make speeches and as Heather Small’s “Proud” began to play so the pupils seemed to come out of nowhere each carrying a chair, quickly and quietly sitting themselves down in their designated “college” colour areas.
Headteacher, Kevin Sadler, welcomed all into his fold and was followed by Simon Davies of the Teenage Cancer Trust and Peter Moore One student represented each of the four “colleges” and gave a speech using phrases such as “we treat each other equally and with respect” and “we are caring and compassionate” and all seemed genuinely proud to be part of this “family”.
Meanwhile, the rest of the gathered assembly had been given a blue, red, green or yellow balloon each, which they had to dutifully hold onto until the right time. In light of the fact that the wind was tugging as hard as it could to claim these balloons this should have been a recipe for disaster! However, apart from a few early stragglers, when the signal was given the sight of these 800 multicoloured balloons simultaneously surging skywards quite took my breath away as Gateway Acadamy was officially declared open.