As the academic year draws to a close, I am very conscious that I must take the opportunity to reflect on some of the key events that have impacted on our College.
Sadly, all of us participated in the minute’s silence in honour of those affected by the fire at Grenfell Tower last week. This was the third occasion in the last few months when we have had a minute’s silence, and as always, you have been immensely respectful as a 'marker' of our sadness about the tragic loss of innocent lives. We live in troubled times but we must endeavour to acknowledge so many of the positive things that are happening in the world.
"Do nothing secretly; for Time sees and hears all things, and discloses all".
In the case of the Grenfell fire, a line from Bobby Dylan comes to mind,
"Money doesn't talk, it swears".
What is particularly encouraging is the mobilisation of the young to be involved in social issues and to be committed to bring about change.
"The revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it fall,"
"In the dime stores and bus stations, people talk of situations, read books, repeat quotations, draw conclusions on the wall", Bobby Dylan.
Stories of ordinary folk like you or I, who have risked their lives and showed incredible generosity are really heart-warming. I am delighted when I see many of you looking concerned as you read/hear the news on our College screen.
I am even more pleased when I hear you in animated discussion about social issues. We all need to be engaged in shaping our world and be optimistic about the future when we witness amazing kindness and heroics.
As Marcel Proust said:
"Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our soul blossom".
As Bobby Dylan said:
"The hero is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with freedom".
Let us all be heroes and aim to create a better world. Our small but individual actions and acts of kindness should not be underestimated.
This is the time of year when we say ‘goodbye’ to the second year students and wish you luck for the future. I do believe that we make our own luck and that we shape our destiny. As the first cohort since 2000, when our examination systems switched to modularity, you have participated in linear A-levels. Clearly this requires a different approach to passing examinations and I do believe that you have adapted very well. I haven't spoken to a single person who has come out of an examination in a distraught manner. I believe and hope that you will achieve the success that you deserve. So many of you have worked incredibly hard, accessed all of the support available and you deserve to achieve your dreams.
As Bobby Dylan said:
"I'll let you be in my dreams if I can be in yours".
I look forward to sharing your dreams when you collect your results in August. In the meantime, as long as you have done your best, no-one can ask for any more.
This is also the time of year when we say ‘goodbye’ to a number of staff who are retiring or moving to other promoted posts. I would like to thank you for all that you have done for our College and our students. Many thanks for your work in ensuring our success at a time when our College has grown by nearly 50% and the outcomes improved so significantly. We wish you good health and good fortune for the future.
As Morrissey said:
"Age shouldn't affect you. It's just like the size of shoes – they don't determine how you live your life. You're either marvellous or you’re boring, regardless of your age….."
So even in retirement or at the next stage in your career, seize the day and make informed choices. Morrissey also said:
"Age gives you a great sense of proportion. You can be very hard on yourself when you're younger but now I just think "well, everybody is absolutely mad and I'm doing quite well…"
For all of you, I hope that the year has been immensely productive and a time for growth, development and friendship. I would like to thank all of you who have been involved in the series of appointments that we have made. I believe that the new appointments are extremely exciting and will enable our College to become even better. I hope that the friendships that you have developed will serve as a foundation for future success.
Helen Keller said:
"The greatest gift of life is friendship.
Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light".
For those of you who will be returning for the start of the new academic year and those who will be joining us in September, as Bobby Dylan said:
"Yesterday is just a memory, tomorrow is never what it's supposed to be".
Finally, the year has been extremely successful and one in which there have been many challenges, great opportunities and significant triumphs.
My highlight has got to be winning the National Colleges' Football final so convincingly at the Walsall Stadium. An extraordinary feat against some of the largest Colleges in the country. Winning the final is something that I will always remember, even if I did have to dry-clean my suit. I hope that this success will be replicated by my beloved Leeds United, who have a "new" management team (again). Have a great summer and remember:
"A bore is a man who, when you ask how he is, tells you," Bert Leston Taylor.
Jay Trivedy, Principal