Bruce Qi, Leavers' Assembly Speech

Our outgoing Head Boy, Bruce Qi joined RHS from China in Year 9. During Leavers' Assembly at the end of term, Bruce gave a powerful address about his experience as an international pupil, his personal journey and how RHS and the people here made him into the man he is today.

"Good morning school. We have spoken about naval heritage this year as one of the topics of 'Thoughts of the Week'. This heritage guides us to become the person we want to become and they make us who we are. But today I want to talk about how the school has made me. Joining the school in Year 9, with all the unknowns was hard.  

"The first and the biggest challenge was the language. From the first day I realised that saying “yes sir” in the roll call was easy, but to be able to understand lessons was completely a different level of difficulty. For example, I really liked my maths lesson in Year 9 with Mrs Botley, as I could actually understand what she was writing about. Although sometimes I might have asked her some simple questions that were not easy to answer, such as, "what does mean, mean?" It turns out that the word "mean" could mean unkindness; it could mean the verb of referring to something; or it could mean the average. So trust me, I learned quite a lot of English in my maths lesson.  

"Although the communication at the beginning was hard, my teachers and friends supported me through that period of time. Mr Gould encouraged me to read my first English book: 'Animal Farm' and he also encouraged me to try public speaking; the after lights out talk with my roommates along with the EAL Department who spent day after day supporting me. I realised how difficult reported speech was after Mrs Millington’s lesson; Mr. Hudson was my English teacher for two weeks in Year 9, he claimed that he had no hope for me in English. But fortunately, he’s got a wife, Mrs Hudson-Langer, who apparently managed to do something that Mr Hudson couldn’t, hold on, did I just do the reported speech, I think I did. Well, thank you Miss! And certainly without these people, I wouldn’t have become the person I am today.  

"Joining the rugby team was also one of the highlights of my time in this school. Mr Raybould coached my first football match, and also suggested that I try rugby. Which I did, and frankly speaking, it was probably my first step towards the British culture apart from the fish and chips. I made friends in the team and I learned from them, both the way they played and the strategies they have, even though sometimes I can’t get the strategy fully with the so called ‘language barrier’. I have gained friendships and the sense of belongingness from the team. And without the team, I wouldn’t have become the person I am today. 

"Hawke House was my original boarding house. It is a place that witnessed my journey from Year 9 to Year 12. Polishing shoes and ironing our No.1 uniform with the whole house before divisions wasn’t the best experience, but it was certainly the best memory, along with matron’s BBQs. It is the environment in Hawke which gave me the courage and confidence to do what I wanted to do. It’s the trust between everyone and the loyalty that everyone has towards the house. I am proud of being a Hawker, and I know that without Hawke, I wouldn't have become the person I am today.  

"During my journey in RHS, there has been one key person who has helped me develop and taught me how to become a man. He has many roles but to me he is a good teacher, a friend, a mentor, but most importantly, he has been a father figure to me. His name is Mr Daniel Coleman. Thank you so much to him for everything! 

"Finally, I want to tell you one thing, one thing that I have learned from my RHS life. It’s this: no matter what personality you have, active, confident, quiet or open minded; no matter where you from, either 4,834 miles away from China, 5,228 miles away from Mexico, or just even 20 minutes away from Colchester. If you are willing, you can be shaped into the person you want to be at RHS. Therefore, value the time that you spend with each other, because these experiences will become the most precious memories and wealth for you. It is this place, these people, which have made me the person I am today. Thank you!"