Harlesden documentary star Louis Theroux celebrates exam success at secondary school in Alperton
PUBLISHED: 11:36 28 September 2015 | UPDATED: 11:36 28 September 2015
Documentary star Louis Theroux lent words of wit and wisdom at an event to celebrate outstanding exam results at a secondary school in Alperton.
The journalist joined head teacher Gerard McKenna on stage at Alperton Community School in Stanley Avenue, to congratulate students from Year 11 and 13 on their exam results before giving an inspiring speech about the importance of hard work, luck and honesty in the path to success.
Mr Theroux, who lives in Harlesden, told hundreds of students who packed out the school hall: “Hard work and application stands you in good stead in your life. Sometimes it feels as though everyone else has been given a manual.
“But sometimes the biggest challenge is in being honest- telling the truth and facing up to what’s in our own hearts”.
Hundreds of students turned out in style to receive diplomas for their clutch of outstanding results in a record year for the non-selective state secondary which saw students collect a total of 592 top A and A* grades.
Sixth form students were also rewarded for top performances in their A-Levels and were invited to talk about their first few weeks studying at university.
The evening of celebration kicked off with a drum procession from students and was interspersed with vibrant dance and poetry performances before school awards were handed out in front of special guests including the Cllr Lesley Jones, Mayor of Brent..
In a speech about the coincidences and strokes of luck that have helped him on the way to a 20-year career in journalism, Mr Theroux said: “I’m a great believer in luck. Make yourselves lightning rods for good fortune.”
The BAFTA award-winning documentary-maker congratulated students on their “amazing results” and spoke of achieving 10 As and two Bs in his own secondary school exams.
He told the Times: “This school is a model of excellence. It’s an inspiration how well these children have done especially coming from backgrounds where English is not their first language.
“Had I come here perhaps I’d have done better in my exams, although A*’s didn’t exist in my day- you can’t get A*’s if they don’t exist.”
He spoke about his own studies at Westminster School and Oxford University and emphasised he was never “complacent” about his privileged education.
Speaking of the notorious Oxford drinking club which is said to have included the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr Theroux said: “I was at Oxford at the same time as David Cameron and George Osborne but I was never asked to be in the Bullingdon Club. If I had been I wouldn’t have been a member.”
Following a presentation of school prizes for service to the community, overcoming adversity and promoting racial harmony students were invited to collect their certificates and celebrate with teachers and friends over refreshments.