To access the full bulletin, please click here: HS Friday Bulletin May 26
Dear Parents / Guardians,
Well, the big day has finally arrived for our Seniors. Mr. Birchenall and I have been with them in the FAT for the past couple of days for graduation rehearsals and we’ve really enjoyed the last moments of quality time with the whole batch. After yesterday’s rehearsal, they had a lovely lunch that had been organized by the Senior patents and PCA, during which time their yearbooks were delivered so they had time to sign each other’s and write messages of best wishes. The afternoon was set aside for their Senior Celebration, back in the FAT, which was an absolute blast – there is some real talent in this group. Good luck to all our seniors – we will miss you all.
Last Tuesday afternoon, our Academic and Service awards assembly went very well, with over 150 students being called to the stage to receive awards for subject, sporting, grade-level, leadership, service and excellence. Mr. Birchenall opened the assembly with some words of wisdom and advice for the future, while I closed. Here’s what I said:
When I was in high school, it was the late 1970s and early 80s. I know what you’re thinking – “No, way – he doesn’t look old enough”. I loved music, both playing the trumpet and listening to pop music. I loved art – particularly painting and sketching. Although I was keen a Liverpool football fan (and still am), my sports were swimming and cycling. My trumpet heroes were Maynard Fergusson, Chet Baker and Doc Severenson. I tried to emulate the style of Roger Dean in my artwork. I still have the autographs of Liverpool legends Ray Clemence, Emlyn Hughes and Kenny Dalglish somewhere in my parents’ attic. I wanted to be as good as Mark Spitz and Eddie Merkz when I swam or cycled. My pop idols were The Police, Tubeway Army and Blondie.
I’m sure that many of these names mean absolutely nothing to you and why would they – they were my heroes, from my high school days. Perhaps they mean something to some of the teachers or parents in the audience that were high school age in the late 1970s and early 80s. I mention them to illustrate a point. That to have someone to aspire to, is possibly as old as time – and certainly as old as me. Did Shakespeare ever hope to be as successful as Chaucer? Did Lebron James look to Michael Jordan for inspiration? Does Chance The Rapper aspire to be as good as Eminem?
Often, our heroes and idols are sporting and musical in nature. They were when I was a boy, and they still are now. However, I also remember having some other heroes too. I remember that Mr. Rodgers was one of the only teachers that I actually liked (not our Mr. Rodgers – although I do like him very much – in fact, I like all my teachers these days!), but I also respected him because he respected us. He made difficult concepts understandable and he took time and gave us time to get to grips with topics before moving on to new ones – I think he is one of the reasons I decided to become a teacher.
I admired my mum and dad (and still do of course) in the way they served our community by collecting furniture and clothing for people in our town that couldn’t afford to buy them for themselves. Later they went farther afield, coming under sniper-fire as they drove an aide truck into the warzone of the Bosnian-Serbian conflict in the battle for the Balkans in the 1990s.
I also had an academic hero; my best friend, Dave Goodier. I was no slouch at school, but Dave was the winner of the academic awards – he was the student that needed help to carry all his medals, plaques and trophies home each year after an afternoon similar to this one. I never wanted to be him, I didn’t even want to be like him (He supported Manchester United and hated Jazz!) but he inspired me to work a little harder at school than I would have done without him.
We worship our sporting superstars, placing them on pedestals to receive their medals. We laud the football team that brings the trophy back to the hometown crowd. These victories and successes inspire people to try harder and to do better. I love being part of a school where academic success is as cool and as highly thought-of as non-academic success.
So today, we are celebrating school success, both academic and non-academic. We’re recognizing generosity and selflessness and intellectual capacity, partly in the hope that today will inspire everyone here to do our very best in everything we do, both in and out of the classroom. Some of you might be thinking; “but I’m never going to be that good”, “I’m never going to win an award”. Well that’s ok. I knew that I was never going to be as brilliant a trumpet player as Fergusson, or as gifted an artist as Dean, or as fast a swimmer as Spitz, but they still inspired me to want to do better and my best friend inspired me to want to do better academically. I hope that many of our award winners today will inspire you to be the very best you can be and try your hardest in everything you do.
I do hope that some of the students were still awake by that stage in the assembly and that they realize their potential by doing the best they can in everything they do.
Take care everyone, have a relaxing weekend.
High School Principal