As I drove home last Friday I reflected on the numerous comments that were made to me by our newest students and parents. As always, in an effort to retain students (against their best interests), the usual "mistruths" and negativity about our College were aired by some 11-18 schools:
- "Wyke is too big."
- "You won't know anyone and you’ll be lost".
- "You will only be a number at Wyke".
- "You will struggle to make friends".
- "Wyke is too academic…"
Indeed, a few of the schools have even "promised the earth":
- "You can be the lead in the school production and choir".
- "You can have access to the most amazing work experience".
- "You will have a personalised reference from the headteacher".
- You can captain the netball team"….
It saddens me to hear this but I listened to a song by Labi Siffre in the car, Something Inside So Strong, which I found very inspiring, almost as if it had been written about our College:
"The higher you build your barriers
The taller (we) become
The further you take (our) rights away
The faster (we) will run…
The more you refuse to hear (our) voice
The louder (we) will sing
You hide behind walls of Jericho
Your lies will come tumbling
Brothers and sisters
When they insist we’re just not good enough
Well, we know better
Just look (them) in (their) eyes and say
We’re gonna do it anyway
Something at (Wyke’s) so strong, so strong
Though you're doing (us) wrong, so wrong…"
So a great summer of success for our College: students and staff returning safely from Thailand and South Africa; having climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania; progressing to the 'top' universities on some of the most prestigious courses and so many happy stories on results day on National TV (the BBC).
A verse from Coldplay's Lost comes to mind:
"You might be a big fish
In a little pond.
Doesn't mean you've won
‘Cause along may come
A bigger one
And you will be lost".
Let's hope that none of you get lost this week and that you thrive in a new, more adult environment.
Enjoy the "new adventure", learn, smile and get involved in all that our College can offer. Don't believe the doubters and remember that so many students have already trodden the path to success. Be positive and be determined to begin successfully the new chapter in your Wyke career.
My optimism stems from so many great bits of news that we received about our College and things that happened this summer. No doubt, the purchase of an extra 200 new PCs will be a real bonus in terms of private study facilities as well as the option of exploring other catering provision on site.
I am also excited about my beloved Leeds United and the stability (finally) around the club. We finally own our ground and some excellent staff have been recruited from all corners of the globe (much like our College).
Finally, it would be remiss of me to not mention the fabulous "Story of Mick Ronson: The Spider from Hull". It was certainly one of the most enjoyable evenings that I have had with incredible live music (involving our Wyke music students and staff). Full credit must go to Garry Burnett and Rupert Creed who wrote and produced the show and performed to a ‘packed house’ for 13 consecutive days.
Have a great start at our College and welcome to aspirational success and the enjoyment of learning.
I will leave you with two quotes from WH Auden and Dolly Parton:
"Among those whom I like or admire,
I can find no common denominator,
But among those whom I love, I can;
All of them make me laugh", WH Auden.
"The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain", Dolly Parton.