Fort Hill Integrated College is more than a qualification factory, new principal, Mr. Colin Millar, told the school’s recent prize day.
Mr. Millar welcomed guests and parents to the event, especially former principal Mrs. Marion Getty who retired last year.
“I offer a particularly warm welcome back to Mrs. Getty,” he said. “I understand it was September 1st 1979, that you first arrived here to begin your teaching career, serving over 37 years in the school, including 14 years as Principal.
“We will come immediately after this report to celebrate the efforts and attainment of our students last year, with a significant emphasis on the academic attainment, but Fort Hill is more than a qualification factory.
“I want to highlight the education opportunities beyond the curriculum, something that Fort Hill does so well.
“Mayor Bloomfield, as a former Vice Principal with Pastoral responsibility, I think you might particularly appreciate the personal benefit of both our Learning for Life and Work provision, engaging with a host of external agencies, willing to give of their time and resources, but also the means through which subject areas are taking learning beyond academic to the social, emotional, cultural, and economic layers.
“Already ahead of industry calls for future employees with ICT skills beyond software application, all Y8 students were presented with their own personal BBC Microbit.
“We are grateful for the opportunities offered to sixth form students, visiting companies such as Boomer Industries, but also for the time Andrew Robinson, the Managing Director, invests in school and students, coming in to answer questions for A Level portfolio work.
“Highlight of the year may have been the trip to New York, experiencing the ‘Big Apple’ and a flavour of its way of life as well as some of the most high impact human geography in the world.
“As befits an Integrated College, in this year of centenaries, our Y14 History students engaged in the annual Irish History conferences at the Somme Heritage Centre, with renowned Irish Historian Russell Rees.
“Lucie Harrison and Mosa Kambule were awarded a Carson Bursary of £1000 allowing them to develop a short film entitled ‘One Blood’ based upon racial and ethnic segregation.
“Y12 student, Naomi Hunter, starred in the lead role in a production of “Into the Woods” at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast.
“We continue to support over 60 students in school with a home language other than English.
“Overall our students have between them more than 20 different languages spoken at home.
“Within the last 12 months our school nurse has continued to train staff and students in the British Heart Foundations ‘Call, Push and Rescue’ programme.
“Non-exam classes completed part of a community project with Prince’s Trust at Seymour Street and St Paul’s Church. Students helped with a toddler group and luncheon club for the elderly.
“I also offer a particular welcome to Mrs McMurray, Principal of St Colm’s High school. Fort Hill College and St Colm’s High School have worked collaboratively across various aspects of school life as part of a Shared Education Programme.
“Students from both schools teamed up to enhance their awareness of community service, with a focus on the theme of homelessness.
“In terms of official Department of Education measures, we certainly stand with our heads held high. These statistics are a key to the progression of the young people.
“I would therefore like to highlight the staff, teaching and non-teaching who day by day create and shape a learning environment. The school year was clearly an example of success through team work, and at this stage I want to express thanks on behalf of the staff within Fort Hill.
“In concluding I wish to draw upon the words of Mrs Getty recorded in the “magnificent magazine” published to mark the 50th Anniversary of Fort Hill in 2008. You wrote, ‘Success isn’t just about what you accomplish in your own life; it’s about what you inspire others to do’.”