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Manchester High School for Girls

DR PANKHURST JOINS HER FAMILY’S FORMER SCHOOL TO CELEBRATE SUCCESS AND ‘REPRESENTATION’

On Tuesday 2nd October, Manchester High School for Girls (MHSG) was honoured to welcome Dr Helen Pankhurst as the guest speaker at the school’s annual Celebration and Awards evening at the Bridgewater Hall.

The event marked the stunning academic achievements of Manchester High pupils, their effort and contribution to life of the school community, and celebrated the centenary year of some women’s right to vote.

Dr Pankhurst is Senior Advisor for humanitarian agency CARE International, based in the UK and Ethiopia. As the great-granddaughter of Emmeline Pankhurst and granddaughter of Manchester High School alumna, Sylvia Pankhurst, Dr Pankhurst carries on their legacy. She is a women’s rights activist and recently published the book Deeds, Not Words, the Story of Women’s Rights, Then and Now.

The theme of the school’s awards ceremony was ‘Representation’, and Dr Pankhurst encouraged girls to explore who they really want to be. She commented: “Rather than thinking about what to do when you grow up, the question really is what kind of characteristics and values represent you; who is the person you want to be?”

During her presentation, Dr Pankhurst urged girls to not let physical appearance define them, regardless of pressures from society and social media regularly faced by women today in this respect. As an alternative, she encouraged the whole audience to think about what the suffragettes represented, and which qualities they might want to attribute to themselves.

Dr Pankhurst concluded: “We are celebrating the centenary of when some women gained the right to vote. Some had to wait another ten years for equal franchise. What do you want to do with the ten years? Please remember, these years are yours, use them to develop yourself, to remember your values, to support each other, and also please remember this school’s individual values and collective influences.”

Mrs Claire Hewitt, Head Mistress of Manchester High School for Girls, commented: “We were delighted to welcome Dr Pankhurst to celebrate our pupils’ stunning academic achievements, the effort and their contribution to life of our school community, and to mark the anniversary of the Representation of the People Act.

“It is clear to see how the theme of ‘Representation’ runs through the very fabric of our school and within our girls who represent MHSG in the most accomplished, dynamic and inspiring ways possible.”

“We are very proud to have educated pioneering women like the Pankhurst sisters who have changed the world. We build confidence and character, qualities that girls need today just as much as when our school was formed, and we are excited about what our current pupils will go on to achieve.”

During the evening, the audience enjoyed performances from Manchester High’s orchestra, wind band and choirs, as well as a spellbinding performance from Mia-Serracino-Inglott, the winner of the school’s prestigious Warburton music competition, which has been running since 1935.

Photos of the event are available  here