New students wore their prized uniform berets for the first time at a special annual ceremony – one of the most important events of the academic year.
The time-honoured tradition saw Principal Alex Foreman inspect the parade of Year 7 students who have completed a period of training after joining the School in September. Vice Principal and Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Steven Saunderson assisted, and all staff attended to congratulate students by clapping their march from the Parade Square.
At the Beret Parade, some senior students were able to perform their new roles; they were Student RSM Toby, Senior Under Officer Felix, Stick Orderlies Archie, Billy, Chloe and Niamh.
While regular school uniform is worn most of the time, the beret is an essential part of each student’s ceremonial No.1 Dress (Blues) for parades and special occasions. Receiving the beret is the start of a student’s career as a Dukie and the many opportunities this presents throughout life – once a Dukie, always a Dukie. Students can also wear the cap badge of a family member who has served in the armed forces on their dress Blues. It is called their ‘heart badge’ and is a poignant recognition of their family's military heritage.
Alex Foreman said: “Our military ceremonies remind us of our heritage and ethos, which helps develop character and life skills. Wearing the beret on parade for the first time is a proud moment, signifying the importance of starting careers as Dukies and the life-long honour this bestows.”
For photos of the parade, please click here.