Earlier today (7th January) Head of Christ College, Mrs Emma Taylor welcomed the whole school back, and hoped that we have all had a good mixture of excitement, family time and rest this holiday. Mrs Taylor added that she knew that those who went on the school ski trip before Christmas had a great time and she thanked Mr Ian Owen and the other staff who accompanied that trip.
And as we began the new term, we welcomed those new to the Christ College community, including new pupils to Christ College as well as our two new gap students, Tim and Nicola, from New Zealand and Australia respectively. A very warm welcome to you all and we hope you are quickly gathered up into the Christ College family. And finally we formally welcomed Mrs Julie Lewis, our new Head of Juniors. From September Christ College will welcome pupils from the age of 7 into the school, into the new St Nicholas House, which will be next to Alway House, and Mrs Lewis will lead the staff and pupils at St Nicholas House when the time comes. In the meantime Mrs Lewis is busy with the the task of planning the lessons, activities, staffing and all the other aspects of this exciting new chapter.
As part of the preparation for welcoming junior pupils, may will have noticed that the main school reception and the main administration offices have moved out of their home next to Alway House and have been relocated into what used to be the Sixth Form Centre, on The Quad.
Mrs Taylor then added: “I try, when choosing topics for assembly, sometimes to choose surprising ones. But it is impossible, this time, to avoid the obvious, and it would be wrong not to spend a minute or two reflecting with you on the life and influence of Nelson Mandela, who died on 5th December last year at the age of 95. Mandela was, perhaps surprisingly, only President of South Africa for 5 years in the 1990s, after his 27 years of imprisonment at the hands of the apartheid regime and before his transition to elder statesman, but his impact was significant and lasting, as those who were lucky enough to travel to South Africa with last year’s hockey and netball tour were able to observe.”
She added: “He had a great turn of phrase: about education he said this: ‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world’. And about a subject he certainly understood: ‘to be free is not merely to cast of one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others’. And perhaps most compellingly of all, in the light of his drive for peace and reconciliation between bitterly opposed enemies in his country, he said this about forgiveness of enemies ‘As I walked out the door towards my freedom, I knew that if I did not leave all the anger, hatred and bitterness behind then I would still be in prison.’
Mrs Taylor concluded: “But perhaps what is less well known about Nelson Mandela is that his reaction to challenges was to study hard. In prison he studied books on chess to master the game, and books on gardening when a garden was allowed. More importantly, he studied every book available on armed resistance and strategy. He left no stone unturned to make himself ready for the moment when he would have the chance to take a leading role in the unfolding drama of South Africa. Mandela the statesman we are familiar with, Mandela the student, who saw study and preparation as the keys to being ready when his time came, perhaps is a newer idea to many of us. I leave it to you to decide which of these facets of the great man you take as a model for your own New Year’s resolution; there is plenty to choose from. And perhaps fittingly, he had prepared, too, for his own death, as this quotation indicates: ‘When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace. I believe I have made that effort and that is, therefore, why I will sleep for the eternity.’
At this point, Mrs Taylor took the opportunity to present celebrate the achievements of Christ College pupils.
First for those who took Associated Board music examinations last term:
More music examinations:
Well done to you all.
Mrs Taylor then moved on to the first certificates awarded for the Sports Leaders’ course, which Director of Sport, Mr Trumper, has been running now for two years. This course, the Sports Leaders UK Level 2 Award in Community Sports Leadership, begins with a period of practically based group training sessions, and then involves running after school clubs in local primary schools for at least a 10 week placement. Participants keep a log and must show that they have planned and evaluated their training sessions.Once qualified, the sports leaders can independently organize and run community based sports courses for children aged up to 16. The majority of our students use the qualification to complete their service element of their Duke of Edinburgh Award.
Mr Trumper has picked out two of last year’s candidates who most stood out on the course, and they were invited up to receive their certificates. They were:
This term starts with a bang, as a number of candidates have external examinations almost immediately. We would like to wish them every success with these. There are also many of pupils waiting for news from universities; the most competitive courses and institutions have yet to make their decisions and these can be anxious moments, but we all look forward to celebrating with you once the wait is over.
A glance through the calendar will give us all plenty to look forward to, with the Middle School production of Alan Ayckbourne’s ‘Confusions’, numerous exciting concerts and musical competitions and a great deal of exciting sport among the highlights.
Mrs Taylor then invited the captains of our main sports in the Lent Term to come up and receive our very best wishes for the season ahead; they are:
Mrs Taylor concluded: “Whatever other New Year’s resolutions you have made, I do hope that one of them will be to seize the opportunities available to you and not to waste them. If someone gave you £86,400 and told you that you had to spend it during the day or lose it, I bet you would find £86,400 worth of things you really wanted and spend every penny, or perhaps even give some of it away. Today, 7th January 2014, you have 86,400 seconds to spend, and once they are gone, they are gone for good. Don’t waste them, use them wisely, today and every day this term. It only remains for me to wish you a very happy term!”
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