‘Be Who You Are!’ – A Visit to the Lord Mayor’s Official Chambers
“Be who you are!” This was the resounding message from the Lord Mayor of Manchester in her office chambers.
A group of students from Saint Paul’s Catholic High School recently visited the Lord Mayor of Manchester, Councillor June Hitchen in her office chambers and took part in a debate.
Five Year 9 pupils from Saint Paul’s Catholic High School and four Year 10 pupils from Our Lady’s R.C High School had the privilege of representing the Catholic partnership through an organised school debate.
Facilitated by the Honourable Lord Mayor, June Hitchen, the two groups exchanged views on the advantages and disadvantages of online schooling, the permissibility of mobile phones in schools and the power dynamic between teachers and pupils.
Born and raised in Manchester, Councillor Hitchen emphasised the importance of hard work, personal vision, as well as Manchester pride and shared her journey of humble beginnings to her position of great influence. As the first citizen mayor of Manchester to become Lord Mayor, she shared her formative experiences from her time as a local barmaid through to her time as a micro-electronics engineer.
The Lord Mayor is extremely personable and prides herself on being ‘of the people and for the people’. With a son of her own who once attended Saint Paul’s Catholic High School, Councillor Hitchen challenged the group to be inspired, ‘…speak up and speak out!’. Reiterating the importance of education and opportunity, ‘Value your opinion!’ she remarked.
Once the first female Chair of Licensing for Manchester, she reminded the female students, in particular, that there is a place for women in the workforce and that they should never forget that.
Mr Harvey Kennedy, Science teacher at Saint Paul’s, said: “It was evident in the students’ late remarks that an indelible impression had been left on their young hearts and minds. And while the day was the Councillor’s final day in office, there is no doubt her legacy will long remain on the pages of time for generations to come.”
Ms Sherilyn Hitchen, PHSE Coordinator and English teacher, remarked “Our students are dedicated members of the Debate Mate Team (which is supported by GM Higher) and have been preparing for this event for many weeks. We could not be prouder!”
Mr Alex Hren, Head Teacher, added: “This was a great experience for all the students involved. Opportunities like these provide a very valuable experience for our students and enhance the learning curriculum. We are very grateful to the Lord Mayor for her support and encouragement of our students.”