Dear Year 11 Student,
Ordinarily, we would be reaching the final stages of your GCSE exams. Your hard work would be paying off and you would be looking excitedly at the long summer of opportunity ahead of you.
But these are not ordinary times, as you are very aware. The many rites of passage that you deserved have been postponed or taken away. I know you have had many months to contemplate and deal with this reality, but as the GCSE period comes to an end, I am sure these thoughts have started to re-surface – they certainly have for me.
I want to thank you all for the kindness you have shown me since I arrived at the school, for making me feel welcome in your community. For the many memories you have helped create, the joy you have brought us all and the humour that has made us laugh and making this school feel like home for me. I would particularly thank those students who went above and beyond, in particular the reading buddies, mental health ambassadors, mentors, eco warriors, form captains, sports captains, students councillors, prefects, senior prefects and of course the 1719 Society, led so passionately by Eve and Jacob.
As you sit reading this today, I am sure there are a range of mixed emotions amongst you all:
Relief, joy, hope, fear, sadness, worry, excitement.
We have come to the formal end to your 5 years of secondary education. No two of you have had exactly the same experience. For some it will have been a challenging time, for many reasons, whilst for others the most wonderful time but for most of you I guess it will be somewhere in the middle.
You will look back at your memories here - some good times and bad, happy and sad, boring and fun. What makes them special is that they are unique to you, unique to your year group. Even the very strange ending – it is something your year group alone will share.
As you read this, I want you to take a minute and reflect that you will have made many friends during your time here, some of whom may be your friends forever. Some you will stay in touch with, others may drift, but they will always have been your friends.
After what would have been your exams, I hope you get a much welcomed summer break and the lockdown restrictions are relaxed sufficiently to allow you to enjoy it. Then, each of you will start the next stage of your journey – whether that is 6th form, college or apprenticeship.
As you make that journey, I hope that you all achieve a wonderful set of qualifications, which of course are your currency to get to that next stage. However, much more important than that, to me, is that you take away the Lasallian values that, as a community, we share:
Whatever your future holds, it is these values that will serve you well no matter where you go or what you choose to do. Remember that, though you now leave De La Salle, I hope De La Salle never leaves you and that each of you will always be a Lasallian.
So it is fitting that I leave you with St John Baptist de la Salle’s words, that I hope you will keep with you and always remember that:
You can perform miracles by touching the hearts of those entrusted to your care.
Take care, good luck, God bless and keep in touch.