Sunday, October 18, 2009

The farewell season

It is now getting to be deep in October and the end of the year, for seniors at least, is nearly upon us. For staff and students this means final preparations for examinations, a leaving dinner, testimonials, final senior reports for the year, senior prize-giving, and feverish preparations for 2010. Often these preparations involve looking for accommodation away from home, entry to universities or polytechs or looking for a full time job. Sometimes our students have to grow up fast! We nurture them for five years and then it's a final push out of the nest as they graduate on to the next stage of their lives. It is quite an honour being part of that process.

Certainly this time of ending and beginning has been brought home to us in our family. My wife and I are nearing the time that we farewell our fourth, and last, child from school. After 21 continuous years of our children being at school, this is quite an occasion - the end of an era. It is also a time of new beginnings. There is university to plan for and an empty nest scenario to prepare for as the last of our children leaves home.

Looming large for students and families are the external examinations. The academic business is not done with yet. The year elevens, twelves, and thirteens should now be engaged in following their study timetables and dusting off those poutama goals from earlier in the year. "How do I measure up right now?", and "What can I still do to fulfill my promise?", should be central questions.

My cautionary words are - leave no excuses! In the immortal words of American writer Bob Moawad, "The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, or blame. The gift is yours - it is an amazing journey - and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins."

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