End of the Beginning
This week we celebrated Valedictory week and it was wonderful to hear students talk about the end of this stage of their school life. For these young students about to leave the gates of the Grammar School, this is the start of a great adventure. It was wonderful to see the final handing over of the proceeds of the walkathon cheque to the charity #letusspeak. As the founder of the movement wrote to them,
Through your extraordinary efforts, you have smashed through the original $50,000 target set early this year, raising almost $20,000 on top of that. This is a massive effort! The total amount you have raised is truly outstanding and you should each be very proud – as are we. Thank you for being the change you wish to see in the world.
Whilst change can be confronting, and even a little bit scary, it also offers opportunities rich with adventure and excitement. As Kahlil Gibran wrote; And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.”
Talking to some students in the boarding house this week, I was thrilled to hear so many exciting plans for the future. I listened to students talk about GAP years, university, international travel and work experience opportunities. We will have prepared them to become life-long learners who are able to tackle challenges in their stride. To solve problems, to see creative solutions, to care for others, to care for themselves, to think ethically, to be curious about the world around them and filled with a thirst for exploration. I am truly heartened by this time of year talking to our soon-to-be graduates about their plans for the future.
Throughout life, we are faced with challenges. These come in many forms and shapes. For some, calculus is simple, for others, it is incredibly challenging. For some, the thought of performing on stage sends a thrill through their very essence, for others that is a shiver of dread. For some, learning a language comes easily, for others this is an incredible challenge. Challenges are both contextual and individual. Our Grade 7 students, staff and parents faced the challenge of Maria Island these past 7 days. At times the weather was wild and challenges seemingly insurmountable.
As David Barry suggests; It always rains on tents. Rainstorms will travel thousands of miles, against prevailing winds for the opportunity to rain on a tent.”
Well, rain it did at times. Yet onward they went, they challenged themselves and found they were more capable and resilient than they may have thought. One parent I spoke to said their daughter seemed taller and older after the week away. I have to confess feeling the same when my son returned from his Maria Island trip. We are very grateful for our wonderful Grade 7 staff and the Outdoor Ed team who lead our children on this amazing adventure. These challenges are part of the tapestry of growth that helps develop our children into confident young men and women who in five years will be on their Valedictory Day.
For the parents of our Grade 12 students, I am sure this week will be a reflective one. Like you, I will always remember the day I first took my child to school. For you this week has brought the experience of their last formal day of classes. As we reach this time and the journey ahead for the Grade 12s, I leave you with the words of Mark Twain;
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”