This week has been an absolute joy. Students on campus and finally an opportunity to wish our graduating students a farewell. Not the one they deserved but an unexpected opportunity nonetheless. Here are my words to them as we said goodbye.
Welcome back, and goodbye. Another bitter sweet moment for us all. The moment we had in this hall just before closure, will I think, remain one of my abiding memories of this period. Given all that I had heard and read at that time, I never expected us to return this year, and genuinely thought that was goodbye. How pleased we all are then that I was wrong again!
In having you all on campus over the last few days, there are some thank yous. To Mr Cornforth and Mr Millar who led the way with the arrangements, to the incredible academic team who organised us all so well. To the 6th form exec for driving the consultation with you and the thinking behind our events and the event next year. To you, for enjoying all that we could do. To your parents who tolerated our dithering. Thank you all.
To be able to say goodbye, offers us all the closure we had never expected to need. The period we have experienced has robbed you of so much, and yet we hope has provided you with opportunities and experiences that will never be forgotten.
Bitter, sweet. Rough and smooth. Dark and light
You have in three months experienced what those of us with grey hair know to be true about life in general. Some of it is easy, some of it enjoyable, some of it dark and disturbing. But in all things, life is varied, abundant and filled with moments to satisfy your curiosity. We could be lulled into thinking that these past months are the hardest ever, so many new and unprecedented things. Zoom, teams, meets?
But many of you were born in 2001. On September the 11th 2001, planes were crashed into the twin towers. War in Afghanistan the month after and that same October the iPod was launched. In December 2001 China joined the World Trade Organisation and January 2002 saw the Euro born as a currency. The winter olympics held in February and the football world cup in May. And 2002 was designated the international year of ecotourism.
A rather random collection of happenings from history, large events and small. Significant and not so. Rough with smooth. Light and dark. Life will throw these things at you, and does so without asking for your permission or response.
What you choose to do is down to you and how you react is a personal and variable response. But one thing I do know is that life will be more interesting if you can share your choices and responses with others.
You’ll meet fascinating people. Some horrible, some lovely. Rough and smooth. Significant and not so. But one constant is that you will have your classmates. The Class of 2020. The COVID class.
The moments you have spent here in the last 48 hours we hope reinforce the togetherness you have, reestablish the friendships and lasting bonds. Give you closure and offer you hope.
- You are an extraordinary group. I’m a little bit biased as you know, but I’m very fond of this year group.
- You have been welcoming, friendly and supportive
- You are able, fiercely loyal and yet independent
- You made a difference, and worked as one
- You have potential and have yet achieved so much
- You will be missed and have already been so
I wasn't sure what and how much to say today. If I've bored you again, then I’m sorry. I just wanted to reflect how one dad, and one teacher feels about this year group and grasp the opportunity to wish you well. Unusually for me I want to end with poetry
Goodbye, My Dearest Friend (adapted)
Leilani Hermosa Peterson
The hardest part of any friendship
is when it is time to say goodbye,
and even though we wished we could make you stay,
we know we have to let you spread your wings and fly.
For life is a journey that needs to be traveled,
and we are certain you'll make it through,
we just want you to know and never forget
that we will surely miss you.
So follow your heart and never give up,
as dreams and wishes do come true,
we know that someday we'll meet again,
so never forget we will be praying for you.