Chris Stokes pays a visit to Bishop Gore Comprehensive School
“In all honesty, in the run up to revisiting my old school I was quite nervous, I hadn’t been there since the day I left in August 2004 so didn’t know what to expect. On reflection I can say I had a fantastic time and it was so good meeting up with old teachers, although I’m not quite sure if them remembering me 11 years on is a good thing or a bad thing! Either way I really hope I can go back and educate more young people who are privileged enough to go through such a great school.”
Chris Stokes, Education Worker - Show Racism the Red Card
This year, our longest serving Education Worker, Chris Stokes returned to the school that shaped him into the confident and hardworking gentleman that young people from all over Wales have had the pleasure to meet.
Bishop Gore Comprehensive School is situated near the centre of Swansea and young people from all walks of life. The school is steeped in history, being originally founded over 400 years ago as Swansea Grammar School. The school has occupied the present site for over fifty years and it is one of the most outstanding locations for a secondary school, with grounds backing on to Singleton Park and the University and views over Swansea Bay.
The day was spent with colleague Lindsey Bridgeman and the pair delivered workshops to every pupil from the schools Year 7 age group. As they arrived at the school they were met by a very welcoming receptionist who began to reminisce with Chris about his time at Bishop Gore. Although the school has been modernised from the last time Chris was there picking up his GCSE results, memories instantly came flooding back.
Lindsey and Chris set up their classroom and eagerly awaited their first group of young people. As the young people entered the class and took their seats, Chris was met by a friendly face, his old form tutor, Dr Green. At this point Dr Green didn’t recognise Chris, possibly because of his beard and tattoos, but once Chris introduced himself and said hello to his former tutor he was met with a shriek of “Stokesy!!!” Chris’ nickname that everyone knew him by, even his teachers!
The workshop went very well and was met with lots of laughter from both students and teachers. Chris is well known for bringing humour into his workshops as a tool to engage with young people and after almost 4 years with the campaign is yet to fail him.
The varied delivery styles of Chris and Lindsey helped to keep the workshops fresh and the young people focused. . Lindsey commented that “It’s always quite amusing to see the young people arrive and take their seats, instantly they’re under the impression that the workshop will be boring and unengaging. We use this response as a way to involve them, reminding them of their initial reservations at the end of the session. The young people quickly become attentive, ready to ask questions and give answers. We remind pupils never to judge a book by its cover.”
The pair would also like to give a special mention to Mrs Govier who couldn’t have been more helpful to Chris and Lindsey. She made sure they had everything they needed and spent most of her busy day making sure they were properly catered for.