We had our year-end assembly yesterday to celebrate the school year but this assembly grade 7s is just for you.
Last night, parents spent time making the gym look terrific, your teachers have written speeches for each of you, the whole school and many family members have come to watch.
This ceremony is a statement that this transition in your life is an important one.
I know the transition from elementary to secondary school is significant because I can still remember my transition to high school 25 years ago.
In June of 1991, I was finishing at Caulfield Elementary School and moving on up to Hillside Secondary School.
I remember my first day: after years of walking, biking and being driven to my elementary school, for the first time in my life I rode the school bus.
I was wearing a white Vuarnet France long sleeve t-shirt that had been given to me by an older cousin. I thought she was cool so figured the t-shirt was too. Cool enough that I also wore it to the first dance we had a few months later.
It bothers me that I remember trivial details of dress; it speaks to me being overly concerned about what others thought of me. How I wish I could have gone into high school not worrying so much, rather trusting myself to be myself. If I had some advice for you, it would be to be yourself but I am not here to give you easier said than done advice.
Little I say now is going to affect your attitude in this transitional period so I am simply going to summarize some key themes that I know have been a feature of your experience at BICS, things you’ve learned already.
Your education is partly about skillset – writing skills, reading skills, being able to make use of numbers to solve problems.
Your education is also about mindset – how you approach change, how you think about new situations, meeting new people and how you greet opportunity.
So I will now share some long-learned lessons, likely begun in Kindergarten and earlier with your family , which have hopefully inspired in you a confident and optimistic mindset for making the most of the many opportunities that lay ahead.
Lesson Number One: You are special but no more special than anyone else.
Yes, that is possible – special doesn’t have to mean better or only. The quantity of special people in the wold does not devalue your uniqueness and worth. Soon your teachers will describe your unique strengths and possibly even a quirk or two. Be proud of who you are.
Lesson Number Two: Be confident in yourself. Confidence is believing in yourself – not just your abilities but your potential. You may be good, very good or even exceptional at certain things. But you are also 12 or 13. You very likely have a long way to go until you reach your peak. Your education has been designed for that purpose, for the long haul.
Your experience here at BICS, and I know your next school will be the same, is designed to be a virtuous cycle, one where the more you learn the greater is your capacity to learn more, to be able to do more. This is education inertia – when we learn, we become better learners and more capable people. So I encourage you to be confident, particularly in your potential.
Lesson Number Three, and following from lesson two: set ambitious goals for yourself.
Confidences allows ambition.
Be aware that committing to ambitious goals guarantees hard work and challenging times ahead. Help may be needed. Failure may occur. Fortunately you have the capacity to learn from both so hopefully you will have the modesty and confidence to do so.
You don’t need to remember the words I say, I hope these lessons have been learned and earned growing up with your families and attending BICS. I think you are well prepared for what lies ahead.
Whether you have been at BICS for one year or eight, it has been wonderful having you in the school Grade 7s. You will certainly be missed but as you venture East on your future academic endeavours and in all kinds of directions on your many adventures, know that we will be thinking about you, rooting for you and wishing you all the best wherever your passion and purpose takes you.