Year 12 final address
I’d like to share with you this week the content of my final address to the Class of 2018, which I delivered on their final Assembly last Friday. As I said to the rest of the School on that occasion, I believe that the message is relevant for all…
“St Paul’s School has three core values – Faith, Learning and Community. Year 12s (and the rest of you) – I really hope that, as a result of your education at this School, each of those three values has now found a place as a part of your values-set.
I hope that you value Learning…. and I trust that you will continue learning for the rest of your lives. And by that, I don’t just mean stuffing your heads full of information (although there is a place for that). Rather, we hope you are learning, and will continue to learn, to be creative and innovative thinkers, great question-askers, equipped with the skills and understanding to be global citizens and, perhaps, to become entrepreneurs. At St Paul’s, as you know, we value learning that is holistic, learning by which students learn to reach their creative, physical, social, moral and emotional potential, as well as their intellectual potential. We take this approach because we believe that to thrive in the future, each of you needs to have flexibility, resilience and a sound moral compass. To flourish in a changing and uncertain world, you need to be men and women of character.
I hope that you value (or, perhaps, will come to value) Faith. And by that I don’t just mean faith in yourself and your own abilities (although there is a place for that too). If you haven’t done so already, you are one day going to reach the end of your own resources. You will find yourself in a place where you aren’t strong enough, or good enough or clever enough to deal with the situation in which you find yourself. At that time – and, by the way, you don’t have to wait until then – I hope you will remember the faith-foundation that St Paul’s School tried to build for you. I hope you will remember that you are a unique (and therefore precious), much-loved creation of the God who made and sustains the universe. I hope you will remember that, even if feeling far-removed from God, you can always return and be reconciled to your Heavenly Father, by means of the way made for us by Jesus Christ in His life and death.
Finally, I really hope that you value Community. Let me stress that, just because you are finishing school today, it doesn’t mean that you are leaving the St Paul’s community. In fact, as soon as you walk out of that door, you simply become the newest members of the St Paul’s Past Students Association.
I want to say a few more things about community, because I have been reading about it recently in this book (“Everybody’s normal ‘til you get to know them”).
Jane Howard has said – “Call it a clan, call it a tribe, call it a network, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.”
Psychiatrist, Dr Edward Hallowell describes connection as “the other vitamin C” and he has also said – “We need face-to-face interactions; we need to be seen and known and served and do these same things for others. We need to bind ourselves to each other with promises of love and loyalty made and kept”.
The author of my book, John Ortberg, says – “Human beings who give themselves to relational greatness – who have friends they laugh with, cry with, learn with, fight with, dance with, live and love and grow old and die with – these are the human beings who lead magnificent lives!”
Year 12s – we are sending you out into the world in the hope that you will lead magnificent lives. We are sending you out to make new connections and to become part of new communities. But please, don’t lose touch with the St Paul’s community. There will be plenty of opportunities for you to remain connected…. Opportunities as coaches, mentors or volunteers. Opportunities to come along and cheer for the various Puma sports teams, or to attend our music performances. Opportunities to join the PSA and to attend reunions. And, who knows, opportunities to enrol your children at St Paul’s, when the time comes.
Remember – you should always be proud to be a Puma! Best wishes to you all.”
Mr Nigel Grant
Executive Director of Faith & Community