GCSE Prizegiving 2020 was a wonderful evening of smiles, handshakes and best of all, prizes!

It was great to welcome back a former student of Brooksbank to present prizes and certificates to previous Year 11 students.  Today, Phil Hodgkinson is a self-made millionaire and a fantastic example of someone who has picked up our school motto, aspire and achieve and run away with it.

After an introduction from Headteacher Mr McCallion, the welcome applause died down and we were wondering what, if anything, Phil would divulge about his days at Brooksbank circa 1990.  The wait was over; Phil clearly remembered the main hall.  It was a place of dinners (no change there) and discos – well that was 29-and-a-half-years ago, and the discos died along with the decade.

Young Phil Hodgkinson was a boy who loved sport in general and football in particular.  He watched his first Terriers’ game at the age of 7 and became hooked on both the game and the club.  In fact, his interest grew so great that he wore his town shirt under his school shirt every day!  This ramped up from season tickets to business sponsorship.  Now Phil owns the club!  The decision to buy it took less than ten minutes, he freely admited.

By his own admission, Phil was a bit of a joker at school, who loved hanging around with his mates.  But it was a harsh remark from a teacher that lodged like a bullet in his brain.  Unable to remove it, he was determined to disprove it.

“All you need to be is determined,” said Phil, who dug deep to hold a day job and then rent an office so he could work at night – this time, for himself.  Today he owns a multi-million pound company, called Pure.  For a student who didn’t particularly like studying he has clearly come a long way.

His top tip for getting ahead is undertaking work experience, as it’s something that employers value highly and he urged students to sign up for work experience.

The presentation of prizes and certificates followed after heartfelt praise and congratulations from former Head of Year, Mrs Lynn Greenwood.

We also enjoyed musical performances form drumming ace, Laurence Riley, who performed Ming the Gaps and Lillie Barber who sang Into the Unknown.

Closing the evening, student Kiera Kennedy did a great job when she proposed a vote of thanks and presented a thank-you gift to Mr Hodgkinson.

It had been an inspirational evening where we paid tribute to this high achieving year group as we move forward into a new decade.