“JOURNEY to outstanding” became the theme for the official opening of Shoreham Academy on Friday, thanks to Olympic bronze medallist Alex Danson.
She spoke passionately about her own journey to play hockey for England and encouraged students to strive to do their best, before unveiling a plaque with principal Heidi Brown.
“That bronze medal was our gold, the absolute best we could do,” she said.
“It is the most special thing I own.
“It represents what this building must mean to you, years of dedication.”
She told students about her hockey trials, and how hard work had helped her to improve her fitness before she was picked for the under-16 team at the age of 14.
“It taught me that the most successful people are not necessarily the ones who are the best, they are the ones who love what they do,” she added.
The ceremony was held in the hall with students and invited guests, but students across the academy were able to join in by watching it through interactive white boards in their mentor groups.
Explaining what the offical opening meant for the academy, Ms Brown said: “We have come a long way in recent years.”
She took over the role of head teacher at the former King’s Manor Community College in April, 2003. She explained her team had worked hard to improve the old building to give a more positive image of the school.
But when a window and frame fell out, narrowly missing the deputy head, it confirmed a new building was needed.
They began working on the designs in late 2007 and were finally able to secure £32million for a completely new build through United Learning, the academy’s sponsor.
“We did not want a street arrangement, any exposed pipework or industrial finishing,” said Ms Brown.
“We wanted a modern building that was light with excellent sight lines.
“We wanted features that would have the wow factor,” she added.
Five weeks after staff and students moved into the new building at Easter last year, Ofsted carried out an inspection and judged the academy outstanding.
“We are not done yet,” added Ms Brown. “There is still much more to do. Outstanding is not the end of the road for us.
“We aim to be a great school.”
She added that work continued on phase two, to complete the playing fields, and the academy was aiming to be a teaching school from September.