Lectern Airways’ Journey of a Thousand Miles

Tom and Evie ‘aboard’ Lectern Airways!

By Evie, Year 13

As passengers took their seats and the cabin crew prepared for take-off, so began the first Lectern Club of this academic year. Covid measures meant it couldn’t go ahead, as planned, with a black-tie event (including a three-course meal) in the Dining Hall. Not to be discouraged, the Lectern Committee, newly formed for the academic year, decided to host a smaller scale event in the SFC Meeting Rooms during activity time, on Thursday 12th November.

Our chosen theme was one we hoped would spark some creative interpretations: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. To tie in with our theme based around journeys – plus the Covid limitations of chairs in socially distanced rows – the Committee decided to give wings to an additional twist: Lectern Airways.

With boarding passes printed for all speakers and their guests, an aisle kept clear in case of emergency and trolleys of food and drink successfully brought onboard, all that remained was to fasten our seatbelts and prepare for our afternoon of speeches. A recording of my very best ‘air hostess’ voice, welcoming guests, played through the speakers, and all systems were go!

With limitations in place, we had to cut down on time (from 2 hours to 1) and number of speakers (from 16 to 7); the quality of speeches, however, did not disappoint. As is custom, we started with our short speakers almost all of whom were attending their first Lectern event. It can be tricky to deliver something meaningful in only 3 minutes, but all 4 speakers managed incredibly well. The nature of Lectern Club means there can only be one winner, but with the standard so high, the Committee felt there should also be a Highly Commended prize. In the short category, both Jack and Arwen spoke really well, but Highly Commended, with ‘Journeys’, was Anna. The top prize went to Emma, who spoke about ‘Hesitation’, delivering an insightful speech on why we might not take that first step. It’s safe to say, they’re all ones to watch!

Before we settled in for the long speeches, it was time for a refreshment break. Tea, coffee, cordial and cake was served by our cabin crew (the Committee ) – and very professionally too, if I do say so myself! Although not quite the three-course meal we’d hoped for, we were all glad to be spared the typical aeroplane food experience, and huge thanks must go to Marcus and the catering department for looking after us so well (and letting us borrow some trolleys!).

Emily kicked off the next category, speaking for 5 minutes on her grandparents’ journey with her speech ‘Birthday Bash’. Next up was Vato, who, speaking not only for the first time, but also in his second language, certainly impressed the Committee with a motivational speech entitled ‘The Single Step’. We closed the afternoon listening to an amusing retelling of a visit to a French restaurant which didn’t go to plan, from Matthew in his ‘A French Experience’. Another close call on the judging front, but Highly Commended went to Vato, while the winner of the category was Emily.

All those who spoke did a fantastic job, and on behalf of the Committee, thank you for volunteering to speak in the new format – it’s not what any of us expected, but you coped so well. Mrs Beaty’s sage advice and guiding hand was a big help, and the event’s success is indebted to her. Thanks must also go to Mrs Beadnell for always being a great support, Mr Fairwood for being the genius behind the boarding passes and Mr Nicholls for taking some fab pictures. My own personal gratitude extends to my fellow committee members: Tom, Veks, Rob and Georgie – for your creativity, patience and time. The event couldn’t have happened without any of you.

Our attention now turns to the next Lectern Club event, to be held in a few weeks and with a Christmas theme. We’ll be waiting to hear the verdict on its format with regard to Covid restrictions, but until then, we have song titles to distribute and decorations to organise! In the meantime, we hope you had an enjoyable flight, and thank you for travelling with Lectern Airways.