Anyone who has sat in one of my assemblies will know that I like a good quote, adage, aphorism or proverb. Outside of my study door is a quote from Bernard Moitessier, one of the founding fathers of single handed ocean sailing. It says, “You do not ask a tame seagull why it needs to disappear from time to time toward the open sea. It goes, that's all”. This quote always resonates with me for the suggestion that our sense of adventure is something innate and not learnt. We are, by our very nature, adventurous creatures and this is something primitive which defies logic or explanation. When asked why he wished to climb Everest, George Mallory famously replied, “because it’s there”.
As I’ve been chatting to pupils, parents and staff this week, I’ve been hearing of the many adventures that those in our community have experienced this summer. It’s included travel to foreign countries, climbing mountains, sailing, kayaking, canoeing, cycling, desserts, beaches, forests and wild moorlands. So now, as we return to what might feel like our ‘tame place’ you might think that the adventures are over. Thankfully this is absolutely not the case. First up have been our Form 8s who have put themselves forward for selection as Head Boys and Head Girls. Not many of them would profess to being natural born speakers, however, more than half of them chose to stand for election and spoke in front of the assembled pupils from Forms 7 and 8. As ever, they raised the bar and did an admirable job. To a person they were able to articulate the requirements of the position and identify the personal attributes that they would bring to the role. We don’t know yet which of them has won the vote and I look forward to announcing this on Monday, once we have the puff of white smoke, and to working with them over the coming year.
Of course, many of the candidates will be frustrated in their attempt to become Head Boy and Head Girl and to them I can only point them towards our school values. They will be required to demonstrate some humility over the coming week but, perhaps more importantly, they will need to draw upon their reserves of resilience. Each one of them could have filled the post well, but only six of them will have been chosen. For the children who were not chosen, they will need to dust themselves down, support the chosen candidates and lift their gaze towards the next adventure.
John F Gilmour