350 Campaign Launch – An Evening Under The Arches
The Changing Lives, Building Futures campaign launch event, on 10 October 2023, was a truly wonderful evening, drawing over 200 Reigatians from across the global Reigatian community. The venue, nestled in the atmospheric Leake Street tunnels beneath Waterloo Station, provided a captivating backdrop for the occasion and enabled us to host an exciting and fun event for all those attending.
The evening centred around the new campaign concept of the butterfly effect. The rich history of Reigate Grammar School started back in 1675 when Henry Smith put ‘quill to parchment’ and left £1,000 to educate local ‘poor boys’ in Reigate. This one act of generosity kickstarted a butterfly effect which has had an enormous impact on Reigate and the local area almost 350 years later.
Guests were invited to imagine the positive impact they could have, big or small, by finding their fit across a number of different areas of support:
- IMAGINE – RGS pupils thriving in an atmosphere of kindness, of understanding and of doing good
- IMAGINE – being able to offer more bursary places for children at RGS than ever before, who will enrich their own lives and others around them
- IMAGINE – being the catalyst to start something good in your community
- IMAGINE – getting involved with our 350 celebrations
- IMAGINE – working with our charity partners to magnify the impact of their work
- IMAGINE – attending the opening of a fabulous new sports hall at RGS and one that will benefit the community around us.
- IMAGINE – finding your fit
To amplify the butterfly effect concept, butterflies adorned the venue: from table decorations to butterfly light shapes across the arches and there were even students wearing giant butterfly wings, whilst guiding guests around the event space – they all added to a truly immersive experience. As attendees enjoyed food, drink and great company, they were treated to a live jazz performance from talented alumna and bursary recipient, Karolina Csathy (RGS ‘15), with her musical partner, Zac, on keyboard.
The evening unfolded with a series of compelling speeches, outlining the ambitious ten-year project’s goals and highlighting its significance in the broader context of RGS’s 350-year history. The happy hum of conversation abated as the Headmaster, Shaun Fenton, took the mic to welcome everybody and spoke of the concept of a philanthropic celebration and to imagine our collective impact. Mr Fenton then introduced bursary recipient, Vaisali Suntharesan (RGS ‘23), who proceeded to share her own positive experiences of RGS and how it has set her on a path to dentistry. Vaisali spoke of the help she has continued to receive from Reigatians, including valuable work experience and mentoring and she ended by saying how she too wants to find her fit with the work of the RGS Foundation in an exemplary ideal of paying her privilege forward.
RGS Foundation Director, Jonny Hylton (RGS ‘99), then thanked Vaisali and all contributors before introducing Karolina Csathy (RGS ‘15) – who spoke of her own journey from RGS to Cambridge. A testament to the power of an RGS education and social mobility, Karolina is now pursuing a career as a professional musician, singer and composer. Karolina knows firsthand how Reigatians, pulling together, can open doors to opportunity and urged the evening’s audience to consider how they might help, by finding their fit.
Jonny briefly reflected on the positive work of the RGS Foundation to date, then set the scene for the powerful launch video for our Changing Lives, Building Futures campaign. This ambitious campaign’s dual focus on bolstering social mobility through increased bursary provision and enhancing the campus to ensure a top-tier educational experience, was met with enthusiastic approval, as attendees embraced the concept of finding their fit, to achieve these aims together.
As with any event, it is the people who make it a success. We enjoyed support from departments across the school community, to TW Creative who introduced our butterfly campaign logo to bring the butterfly effect to life: encouraging people to find their fit at any level that is right for them. In addition to parents, staff, alumni and students, we were delighted to be supported by guests from Chinthurst and Reigate St Mary’s as well as some of our charity partners and Reigatian businesses too. We were grateful to have such an overwhelming show of support as we approach this decade of Changing Lives, Building Futures – thank you all!
In particular, our catering team delivered a delicious array of street food salad bowls, to match the unseasonably warm weather, and these were served by our engaging team of Senior Prefects, led by Ellie W, Eloise H and Matthew H. The Senior Prefects also worked tirelessly to greet and register guests and perform as human sized butterflies! Quite simply, they were fabulous ambassadors for RGS and were an integral part of the RGS Foundation team for the night.
The ambiance was one of camaraderie and celebration – old friends reunited and new connections made, all with a collective sense of being part of something truly worthwhile. The event successfully kickstarted a decade of philanthropy, with a renewed dedication to local community outreach, school partnerships, and resource sharing. Last night emphasised that the Reigatian community continues to be a positive force for good. The launch not only marked a significant milestone for RGS but also laid the foundation for a lasting legacy that will resonate for generations to come.
With an energized and engaged audience, the Changing Lives, Building Futures campaign is poised to make a substantial impact in the years ahead.
View the gallery from An Evening Under The Arches.