The Parting Of The Ways

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All Hail Our Great Leaders

Anthony stretched slightly as he spread out on his large comfy bed. The head boy and the sports captain always shared a set of rooms.

So, Anthony now shared a room with just Harry, they also had a large study and their own bathroom. Athene and Charlie had the same next door.

Mark now shared a room with Graham and Malcom on the floor below.

“Morning sleepyhead,” said Harry.

Harry’s hair was still wet from the shower and he had a towel around his neck as he pulled on his trousers.

“What’s the time?” muttered Anthony.

“Quarter to seven O’clock,” said Harry.

“Charlie and I already led an early morning run.”

“I left the water in if you want a bath,” shrugged Harry as he finished getting dressed.

Anthony had been sharing bathwater with Harry and Mark for years. As there was only a certain amount of hot water for the whole school, each person was only allowed a few inches of water in the bath, but if they doubled up and shared water, they could have regular baths.

“Thanks, Harry,” said Anthony giving him a brief pat on the back and grabbing his uniform before going to go and take a bath.

He added a bit more hot water to top up the water and hopped into the bath which was a nice refreshing way to wake up in the morning.

“All hail great white leader,” sang Harry as Anthony pinned on his badge.

“Right, that’s it, you and Mark are being rationed, one Head Boy joke a day.”

“You know we love you Tons,” chuckled Harry.

“Hmmm,” smirked Anthony as they both grabbed their bags before going down to breakfast.

Anthony was dreading assembly, he unlike didn’t tend to like attention. He tried to stay out of the limelight as much as he could. But one of Anthony and Athene’s new responsibilities as head girl and boy was that they had to sit on the stage at assembly with the teachers and had to help lead the school in the school song. They also had to read out the daily notices, and today heaven forbid, give a welcoming speech!

Anthony was stood outside the assembly hall and trying to hyperventilate. The way he usually did that was by reciting Latin declensions.

“Serua, serua, seruam, seruae, seruae, serua, seruae, seruae, seruas, seruarum, seruis, seruis.”

“Calm down Tony, you’ll be fine,” assured Harry patting him on the back.

“See you on the other side mate,” said Mark giving him a quick hug.

“Together?” said Athene holding out her hand.

“Together,” nodded Anthony firmly, squeezing her hand for a second before letting go.

They walked onto the stage together and took their seats next to Mr Mitchell.

“Welcome back school,” said Mr Mitchell, “will you all please rise for the school song. Guide Me Oh Thou Great Redeemer.”

“Here we go again,” muttered Graham as they stood up.

Guide me, O thou great Redeemer,
Pilgrim through this barren land;
I am weak, but thou art mighty;
Hold me with thy powerful hand:
Bread of heaven, bread of heaven
Feed me till I want no more.
Feed me till I want no more.

Open thou the crystal fountain
Whence the healing stream shall flow;
Let the fiery, cloudy pillar
Lead me all my journey through:
Strong deliverer, strong deliverer
Be thou still my strength and shield.
Be thou still my strength and shield.

When I tread the verge of Jordan,
Bid my anxious fears subside;
Death of death, and hell’s destruction,
Land me safe on Canaan’s side:
Songs of praises, songs of praises
I will ever give to thee.
I will ever give to thee.

Athene had never noticed before because she hadn’t been stood so close to Mr Davies during the school song, but he really belted it on the ‘want no mores’ and ‘strength and shields’.

Then the headmaster gave his talk, before handing over to Athene and Anthony.

“And now, your first-ever head girl Head Girl and new Head Boy, Athene Richards and Anthony Pennington.”

There was a smattering of applause as Athene and Anthony took the microphone in the middle of the stage.

“Good morning,” stammered Anthony, “um welcome back.”

He felt so ruddy awkward, he should have just written a speech and this would have been so much easier.

Athene smiled at him gently realising he was struggling.

“Not many of you know this, but I was actually the first-ever girl here at St. Christopher’s. There were only five girls in my year, and I was the first to arrive. It was to the point, where there were so few girls, we used to practise rugby with the boys as Davies didn’t know what to do with us.”

There was some laughing, particularly from Mr Davies.

“Six years later, there are now nearly fifty girls. If we keep on coming at this rate, we’ll be needing our own house!”

“What Athene is trying to say,” said Anthony, “is that a lot of things have changed in the last six years. We didn’t used to have a Challenge Cup, there were no girls in the cadets. And the school musicals used to be a lot more complicated with the younger boys taking the girls parts because they could still sing the higher bits.”

“Although I think Mark would have given some of those girls parts a go if he’d been given a chance,” laughed Athene.

“Always up for a challenge!” yelled Mark from the back.

“So a lot has changed, but in a good way,” said Anthony, “let's hope we have a good year, and the school keeps growing and changing. So study hard.”

“But not too hard,” interjected Athene.

“And have a great year,” finished Anthony.

Mr Mitchell quickly handed Athene the notices.

“Drama club will be starting tonight after prep in the drama room,” said Athene, “anyone who wants to join, please come to the drama room at half-past five.”

“Orchestra practise is on Tuesday at the same time, the same place. If you would like to audition or give it a go please come along, you’re all welcome.”

“Rugby tryouts are on Wednesday,” continued Anthony, “so get your boots out.”

“Cadets are on Thursday as always,” finished Athene, “and choir practise and auditions are on Friday.”

“Isn't that a busy week,” chuckled Anthony, “I hope you lot get some work done as well.”

“And now if we can please finish with the hymn, Great is Thy Faithfulness.”

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee,
Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not,
As Thou hast been, Thou forever wilt be.

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon, and stars in their courses above;
Join with all nature in manifold witness,
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today, and bright hope for tomorrow
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside.

“Well that didn’t go terribly,” sighed Anthony in relief once they had been dismissed.

“Yeah,” smirked Athene, “we’ve only got to do that another two hundred or so times.”

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