Thursday, 4 February 2016

Formula for Success

Welcome back and I hope that you have had a really good Christmas and that 2016 is a great year for you and our College.  As always, the New Year brings lots of challenges and opportunities.  As I have said in my meetings with all of you, it is critical that we are all focused on ensuring that everything is done to achieve success and reach our potential.  There is no magic formula for doing exceptionally well other than hard work, commitment and having a 100% attendance rate.  At our recent Awards Evening three weeks ago, there were over 30 students who received the Principal’s Award for achieving the highest grades in all of their subjects.  It is worth mentioning that almost all of these students showed remarkable commitment and worked exceptionally hard.
“I can’t give you a sure-fire formula for success, but I can give you a formula for failure: try to please everybody all the time,”    Herbert Bayard Swope.
In the last few weeks, we have all been saddened by the loss of David Bowie, Alan Rickman and Terry Wogan.  Many people have asked me how I feel about it and whilst it is sad for the people concerned and their families, they are celebrities and have had a good life.  I am more saddened by the loss of those close to us, family, friends and those who have illnesses and elderly relatives.
Bowie’s music represents the passing of an era for me: the ‘golden’ days after finishing our Finals and really relaxing by playing sport, lying in till mid-day, having long conversations with our closest friends, many of whom remain so after over 35 years.
Karl Marx in the German ideology describes the Utopian Society:
“… it is possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticise after dinner…..”
Unfortunately, we have to concentrate on the task ahead for now.  For those of you who will be leaving our College in July, your time here will also represent the passing of an era; one that I hope that you will remember with great fondness, excitement, achievement and stimulation.  So focus on the here and now, push yourself and share in the tremendous activity and success all around you:
  • our men’s and women’s football teams in the national semi-finals;
  • the success of our netballers and basketball team;
  • the success of our teams in being runners-up in the law mooting competition;
  • our Gold Crest Winners in Science;
  • the wonderful offers that many of you have from some of the most prestigious universities and on the most sought after courses;
  • our College’s position as the top performing A level provider in the region in the performance league tables;
  • the visits to New York, Berlin, Florence, Berne in Switzerland, Washington and South Africa in the next few weeks;
  • the national poetry recital competition that we have been involved with;
  • the numerous external speakers in engineering;
  • the visit of the Leader of the House of Lords, Baroness D’Souza and our local MP, Diana Johnson.

Thank you too for the fabulous help that you have given during our numerous Open Evenings and Open Days.  A prospective parent asked me if you were happy and I was delighted to send him to talk to any of you.  I did emphasise that we do not tell you what to say but that nearly 200 students had volunteered on a very cold and windy day.
So make the decisions that are so crucial now, don’t wait.  Seize the opportunities that life throws your way and make the most of your time at our College.
Jo Walsh, the lead singer for The Eagles, wrote a song with the following line:
“Life’s been good to me so far…..”
I believe that it can get even better but we all have to work exceptionally hard to maintain our success.   Remember, that we all make choices:
“Each day is one step further from birth, one moment closer to dismissal.  How we travel the path is our own decision,”   Anon.
Even if things don’t unfold in the way you expected, don’t be disheartened or give up;
“…one who continues to advance will win in the end,”   Anon.
Be positive and optimistic in life and in 2016.
There is a Chinese saying, “…in the stream where you least expect it, you’ll find fish”.