Over 150 students gathered in the hall on Monday 28th November to celebrate last year’s GCSE results.
We were delighted to have in attendance Ms Hazel Morton, their former Pastoral Leader, Mike Pittendreigh as Guest of Honour (at very short notice), and Tania Dalton, representative from CAFOD.
Ms Morton shared some of her proudest moments as their Pastoral Leader and congratulated the students on rising to various challenges, both academic and spiritual / social.
Our Guest of Honour Mr Pittendreigh presented the certificates and shared a few wise words from his experience. He talked about the ‘Finchley way’ and the relationships that are built here. Having strong connections with the school himself, he found it endearing how students past and present had this shared affiliation with the school, each other and their desire for betterment. He spoke about the stories hidden behind the GCSE grades they received, the hard work, the support, the struggle… but above all the resilience in getting through. He hopes our students take this experience forward and is sure it will make each one of them better prepared for the next stage.
Our final guest, Tania Dalton, was here to collect a cheque of £5,000…yes, you read correctly… £5,000. CAFOD were delighted to be part of the ceremony in recognising the students’ achievements. They expressed their thanks to the students and the school for such wholehearted and dedicated support to CAFOD, inspired by the memory of Jimmy Mizen. We were all particularly moved by the handwritten letter from Father Ignacio Blasco, Parish priest off the Nativity in Santa Maria Chiquimula, Guatemala. Our monies will go towards the mother and baby clinic they run with CAFOD support. Please see the typed version of the letter below:
Dear students of Finchley Catholic High School,
Although I don’t know you in person, I am honoured to say a few words of thanks to you for your admirable work raising funds in memory of Jimmy, in order to serve others. This is called SOLIDARITY, in capital letters.
Allow me to say something to you, something of which I am more convinced day by day; the real history of life is not written by big moments, spectacular events, heroes, and so on. No. Real history, fertile history, history that gives life to others, is written by small gestures, symbolic but effective acts. I thank you, personally, for this beautiful and profound gesture of solidarity in Jimmy’s name and for the people in need here where I live. Your solidarity will help to alleviate the difficulties the people here face.
However, what makes me really happy is the personal benefit that you will feel in each one of you. You are the first beneficiaries of this gesture of yours, because I want you to know that no gesture of solidarity, service or love for our neighbour is infertile. These are the actions that save the history of humanity. I repeat, not spectacular or heroic acts, but the small and simple ones. These acts transcend our own lives, whilst giving our lives meaning.
I hope I am expressing myself clearly. I want to encourage you to keep on this path, not just fundraising, but filling your lives with purpose and meaning. It is up to you to live your life with meaning. You have seen the example of Jimmy’s parents, who, faced with such tragedy and sadness, found the wherewithal not to succumb to despair but to honour the death of their son through a work of solidarity that transcends the pain of their loss and has returned meaning to their lives.
I send you all, on behalf of everyone here [in our parish in Guatemala], our sincere love and blessings for all you are doing. Actions like yours make it possible for us to dream of a better society, one that is good and supportive.
Father Ignacio Blasco, SJ
Well done to all on a tremendous set of GCSE results, on their all-round achievements lower down the school and their wider contribution to our gospel values.