I will start this by saying I’ve been lucky… in so many ways… school, university, parents, family, career and opportunities. I’m a big believer in the benefits of a balanced life – work hard, play hard but keeping in mind the right priorities in making your life choices.
I came to what was then Lowestoft Grammar School in 1969 with my school blazer, cap and tie, following in the footsteps of my older sister, Angela. In the following seven years I grew a lot, played a lot of sports, listened to a lot of music, rode motorbikes and even found time to study well enough to complete O Levels and A Levels with good enough grades to enable me to move on to the University Of Nottingham to read Chemistry.
During those seven years, Lowestoft Grammar School became the Denes High School. Lots of things happened to me in that time, mostly good. I don’t remember that much about the early years to be honest, though one highlight was the educational trip to the Mediterranean on the SS Uganda, visiting many different countries – this event I remember, like it was yesterday. Memories from being horribly seasick crossing the Bay of Biscay and as we passed Lisbon in the distance, to visiting the most exotic places such as Istanbul, Varna, Athens and Venice. These great memories of course, were reinforced when the SS Uganda was deployed as a hospital ship in the Falklands War many years later. Maybe it was this great experience that shaped my thirst for travel later in my adult life.
I also remember all the sports, right the way though the school, under the guidance of Mr Maddox and Mr Wayman. I was pretty competitive and was hugely proud to be awarded the school colours for football, rugby and basketball. We had some decent teams in those years and a few people I had the pleasure to play with, football in particular, went on to play professionally, or as in my case ‘semi-professionally’. I even won the Victor Ludorum award at sports day (until the judges belatedly decided it should actually have gone to some kid called Terry Butcher!).
We had some excellent academic teachers in that time too and I think I got a pretty good all-round education; they prepared me well for the next phase of life at university.
Last memory of school… another school trip, this time in our final summer, a canoeing trip down the Ardeche River in France. What a blast – great friends, great experience and a great way to finish my time at The Denes High School.
And so to university… Nottingham turned out to be a great choice for me and enabled me to continue my ‘work hard, play hard’ theme to the end of my degree (though some might say not enough work). It’s a great city, with a really fun atmosphere, and provided the backdrop for more great memories, making more (lifelong) friends and a great education.
At the end of my degree I had decided that it was time to launch straight into the world of employment. Lucky enough to have a choice of jobs, I chose Kodak, based in Harrow, just north of London. Now for those of that may have done business classes, you may have come across Kodak as a case study. A company that was 100% dependent on a very profitable product (film), that was turned on its head in a very short time by the ‘digital revolution’ and is now still re-inventing itself, having come close to bankruptcy and just returning to profitability. Today I am still with Kodak and lived through that roller coaster ride but I’ve been lucky enough to have had new opportunities every few years and the chance to experience several international assignments, with my family. Most notable were assignments of several years in Xiamen and Shanghai in China and now for the past six years in Rochester, New York. That gave us a platform to travel extensively and give my children an outstanding education. They are true world citizens. I was exceptionally lucky to have those opportunities, sometimes it was a little scary, but they were such rewarding experiences for us all. My oldest son has just graduated from the University of Toronto and my youngest is at university here in the USA. My wife has, thankfully, supported me in everything I’ve done and made the most of her opportunities too.
So what ‘wisdom’ can I offer from all this? Firstly – put the work in to get a decent education. I’m not convinced you need a precise career plan… but whatever direction you choose, be the best you can be, then opportunities will come your way. Put yourself out there and push outside your comfort zone sometimes. Work hard to stay healthy and put your family first.
With the current world situation, and not being able to offer our normal transition, we would like to share some resources to support current Year 6 students, who will be moving to Ormiston Denes Academy in the next academic year. There are a number of online sites available, these include: Be Awesome, Go Big has […]
Mrs Buckenham has created this cookbook for all skill levels. Take a look and make something tasty!
Following on from the successful OAT EAST Dance competition, the full video performance from our students can be seen here: http://bit.ly/OATEASTDance
Students from Ormiston Denes Academy had a fantastic trip to Tonale in Italy again this year for the 2020 ski trip! All students had a fantastic time and demonstrated courage, resilience and determination. Our surroundings were beautiful – breathtaking with glorious weather! As well as skiing, students also participated in: • Bumboarding • Night Ski […]
We had an amazing time when 21 of our brilliant dancers took part in the first OAT East Dance competition! Students were competing against 7 other Ormiston academies, which calculated to just over 100 students. Their 10 minute routine made audience members cry, cheer and have goose bumps! Also, a huge well done to our […]
We are proud to announce that in January we were awarded our platinum award from our work with Suffolk Family Carers and supporting our young carers in school. We work closely with Suffolk Family Carers, and especially those within our academy. We have raised school awareness of young carers through assemblies, form time sessions, social […]
The OAT East Dance Competition is taking place at Ormiston Denes Academy on Wednesday 12th February 2020 at 7.00pm! This is a competition for students from eight Ormiston academies based in East Anglia, and we are hosting! Family and friends are welcome to this free event, doors will open at 6.45pm.
The Ormiston Denes Academy annual Careers Fair is taking place on Friday 6th March! This gives our students a chance to investigate possible careers and opportunities available to them. Over 45 organisations are attending this fantastic event!
Congratulations to all students involved, for their months of hard work and effort, in preparing and delivering various workshops and events for the Dora Love competition. All of the students were so professional in their presentation in the final, competing against 17 other secondary schools for the prize, and speaking in front of hundreds of […]
A very proud moment for Ormiston Denes Academy when some of our Year 9 students performed Suitcase 1938, at Lowestoft Train Stationn, as part of the Holocaust Memorial Day Service. This marked the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. The train station is important as it was one of the places that received hundreds of Jewish refugees […]
The results are now in and we are proud to say that we have won 4 of the 6 categories that we entered, with all of our students being highly commended! Dance – JessicaArt – OliviaFood Technology – AlfiePublic Speaking – Daisy Congratulations to all students from the Lowestoft schools that participated in the awards. […]