Final Assembly June 2017
Thank you…….this was the year this school caught fire and I feel privileged to have been here to witness it and be part of it. This was the year when we became proud of our school. This was the year when we defined our ethos and our values. We are for:
- Kindness and friendliness- we look after each other; we welcome new members to our community; we value everybody and look out for the vulnerable among us
- Teamwork and team spirit- we support and encourage each other; if you play our sports teams be warned, we will fight like crazy for each other and our school and at the end we will congratulate you and shake your hand regardless of the result.
- Confidence and risk-taking- we will give it a go- and not just a token try but our best effort. We will push ourselves beyond our comfort zones and believe in ourselves
- Excellence- to coin a cliché, we believe that if something is worth doing it is worth doing well
- Diligence - we think it’s OK to have fun at school but we are dedicated to our learning and to making the very best of the talents God gave us
- Aspiration, for aiming high- we believe passionately that young people can achieve amazing things
So we have created our fire….what next.....? Where do we go from here……?
I have been pondering this question subconsciously for a little while now and, as so often in the course of my career, the answer….at least the one that I would like to propose to you this morning, has come to me from students.
I want to talk for a little about the group of young people at the back of the room dressed in white. I have been genuinely inspired by you this year. I have watched you in your organization of events like the Talent Show, The Climate Change Conference, Graduation and Prom; I have seen you in your sports teams; I know how many of you are about to be recognized in a few minutes for your approach to your studies; and I have observed you in your service to this community and heard of your service to our wider community. And in these endeavours you have shown dedication, confidence, patience, initiative, humility, care for others, attention to detail and a desire to get things right and to do things well. In short, you have shown leadership.
I am a firm believer in the idea that we are all leaders- that every day we are presented with opportunities and challenges to show leadership. I say challenges because leadership is the path less trod, it is the tough decision; it involves sacrifice and resilience and humility.
- Challenging someone for being unkind to a vulnerable member of our community
- Resisting the temptation to fritter away time that we know should be dedicated to our work
- Sacrificing what we would really like to accommodate the wishes of others
- Being gratuitously kind
- Being honest
- Forgiving someone
- Praising someone
- Consoling someone
- Being willing to take risks
- Overcoming disappointment with grace and resilience
- Sticking at something- seeing something through, especially when it’s not particularly enjoyable and taking pride in getting things right and doing them well
- Having confidence in ourselves
- Setting a good example
- Honestly reflecting on how we did and being willing to be self-critical without beating ourselves up over our mistakes
- Being courageous, especially when it comes to standing up for what we believe is right
In Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, Polonius gives his son Laertes some advice to carry with him as he leaves to attend university abroad and his concluding remark has always resonated with me. He said:
“But this above all; to thine own self be true”
And quite rightly people often interpret this as meaning sticking to ones principles and values- having integrity. But it also means, “Be honest with yourself.” It is part of our human condition to want to make excuses for our shortcomings, or even worse to deny them or lay the blame on someone else. To be leaders in our lives we need to be reflective and honest with ourselves.
Leadership is where I believe we need to go next with our fire and I want you students to know that leadership, and especially this concept that leadership is something for everybody and that opportunities to show leadership present themselves to us throughout the course of every day, will be the focus of our Staff Training before the start of next term.
If next year we can all show a little more leadership, be a little more willing to be honest with ourselves and take the path less travelled then what can we not achieve for ourselves and for our school?
Good International Schools have many benefits but one of the few downsides is that we regularly have to say goodbye to valued colleagues. I am not going to belittle their contributions and service to our school community by attempting to say something about each individual as I could not possible do them justice. Suffice to say these people have made a terrific impact on our students and have been integral to creating the undeniable forward momentum that we now have as a school. They will all be sorely missed and I wish them each every success in their future careers.
They are: Miss Rewald, Miss Whiteside, Miss Frances, Miss Douville, Ms. Pihut, Mr Tobin, Mr Pearson, Mrs Boaitey, Mr Mitchell, Ms. Hawker, Miss Girerd-Barclay and Mrs Mallik
Sadly, our Head of Primary, Jude Payne has also decided to call time on her journey at KISU in order to move nearer to family in UK. Jude has done an amazing job as Head of Primary, especially in leading us through the huge challenge of moving over to the new English National Curriculum.
Jude, as you all know, is a warm, compassionate and vibrant personality but don’t be fooled; she is also highly intelligent and professional, had a great eye for detail and is extremely hard-working. Jude has been a great support to me both personally and professionally this past two years and I will miss her greatly. I wish her all good things in the journey ahead and look forward to hearing news of the heights she is leading her next primary school to. Best wishes, Jude- it won’t be quite the same without you!