What are school prize givings?
School prize givings are strange occasions, shrouded in mystery, suspense and backstabbing between parents and students. The typical school prize giving event is only the second activity noted for it's backstabbing attendees. It loses out to beauty pageants, and amateur dramatics. Having recently attended a school prize giving event, it is easy to tell which students really care and which ones don't. Usually there will be awards for those who have passed examinations, including GCSE's, A-levels or any of those funny vocational exam thingies. Alongside this, schools usually give out awards for excelling in art, drama, music or the wearing of shorts, very short shorts (officially known as Physical Education - because, it's well, 'physical', o'course).
At most prize giving ceremonies, the students that don't care don't turn up. If they do turn up, they are usually treated like a piece of disregarded turd, and left to rot, trip over, or get royally rollocked for not wearing the correct uniform or the most heinous of crimes - attempting to have fun. A few of the 'major' prize winners (the ones who have recently given an under-the-table gift to members of the senior management and board of governors) will be given 'awards' and then be asked to chat about their last game of football, a nice picture of a donkey that they produced for GCSE Art or their part in "Bums'r'us", the latest school production.
So what are the prizes?
For most of us poor saplings, not very much. But for the clever people there are usually prizes galore. Although one must take in to consideration that the organisation we are talking about is a school. Schools are infamous for one thing - their tight-handed Scrooge-like inability to give money, or anything of any monetary value at all, to you. Usually, to quote the fine Douglas Noel Adams, they have the administrative capability of the Vogons from the 'other' Hitch-Hikers Guide. Any more red tape and you could bundle it all up, buy a stake in Sellotape and start up business. This researcher believes that the current method is such that major prize winners get given a book token a few weeks before the ceremony. They must then go and buy a book with the book token, and it must be an acceptable, and at least quasi-intellectual book or publication: "Randy Rachel's Frisky Foto Album" would not be allowed by the fun-hating headteachers, apart from late at night, with a few drunk students and a big collection of condoms. Then prize winners are asked to bring the book back to the school so they can keep it there and give it to you as a gift. Other prizes do exist - little bits of card with ones name printed on them, as well as cups, shields and other metal parephanelia that generally looks almost aesthetically pleasing when placed on a mantlepiece or in a glass cabinet. As long as it doesn't have the true recollection of what happened at the football tournament.
Who gives out the prizes?
Think local councillors. Think Conservative MP's. Think "your not a rag and bone man, plus you've got some kind of minor distinction - Hey, wanna give out some prizes? There may be some lager at the end of it...". Don't worry about it, apart from making a few exhausted gags about the weather, public transport, the fact that the school is so good, bad, indifferent, the people they choose to present prizes really couldn't care less. They are also guaranteed to have sweaty hands. Betcha.
They are also occasionally former students from that school. The albmni of the college always come back and remember "how great a school it was" and "what a fantastic time I had here". This is all lies! They didn't have a good time. It's just that they have a crap job now, and in comparison, school wasn't so bad when compared with envelope-stuffing or working at the local convenience store. These are the true visionaries who went to your school. The ones that became the cheese counter managers, or the most succesful Avon ladies.
How do I disrupt one?
The best way to disrupt a school prize giving is to hire a Transit van (as driven by builders, electricians, petty thieves and your mum), go pick up lots of drunk youths from a nearby market town, lure them in to your van with bottles of cheap cider, and get them to ramble in to the prize giving ceremony and vomit in the collective crotches of various members of the senior management of the school. This will cause a large amount of disruption and cause the school or college to come in to disrepute. For the sake of posterity, we will not discuss any further the ramifications in terms of the Police, legal action or expulsion from said school.
Second in the disrupt-a-thon is the use of a megaphone, or similar amplified voice tool (think microphones with amplifiers, or just old, skanky, rolled up copies of 'The Sun' or the 'Sunday Sport'). Give one to the local friendly drunks and pikies and get them to wade in, shouting expletives through the megaphone and disrupting the attention away from poor little Timmy's GCSE's and the fact that not only was he on the cricket team, the football team, the rugby team and the athletics team, that after he has left school, he will find full time employment stacking shelves at the Co-Op after graduating with an BSc in Mathematics from Cambridge.
How is it for the prize reciever?
It's an interesting evening for the prize reciever, and their parents. Typical prizes available include the Ponsonby-Smythe Science Award (including a full troupe of dancing anthrax monkies), the Bumguster's Prize for the Boy Most Likely To Book-keep for Enron (and that's a rather creative award), the Ronald McDonald Award For Success In Business (it's supposed to be made out of fish, but the last few awards had rats in), the Pepsi Prize For Soft Drink Consumption (judged by dental health reports) and finally the Crayola Prize For Scribbling With Crayons (the prize is a 24-pack of crayons, both pastel and brighter colours).
School prize givings - an event to be celebrated, outside in the carpark, drunk senseless on cheap gin and waiting for the PE department to come out from the hall and give you the "good lovin" you deserve, baby.