Nov 17

Headmaster’s Speech – 2016 – Grade 5-7 Honour’s Evening

Headmaster’s Speech – 2016 – Grade 5-7 Honour’s Evening

Mr Chairman, members of the School Governing Body, staff, parents and most important, our recipients.

Welcome to the 2016 Annual Honour’s Evening.  Tonight’s Headmasters speech is going to be one of the most unique addresses which I am going to deliver, as I have taken the advice, the many threats from parents and educators, to please keep it short and to the point.  None the less, I shall be obedient.

I would like to open with a joke that I delivered at the Grade R orientation and this is how it goes:

It was the kindergarten teacher’s birthday and the students decided that they would each buy their teacher a gift.

The first student, whose parents own a florist shop, gave her a present. She held it and said “I guess that it is flowers”. “How did you guess?” asked the little boy. She laughed and thanked him.

The second student, whose parents own a candy store, gave her a present. She held it and said, “I guess that is some candy.”

“How did you guess?” asked the little girl. She again laughed and thanked him also.

The third student, whose parents own a bottle shop, gave her a box which was leaking. The teacher touched the liquid with her finger and tasted it. “Mmmmm is it wine?” she asked.

“No,” said the little girl.

So she tasted it again. “Is it champagne?” she asked.

“Noooo,” replied the little girl, “It’s a puppy.”~

In establishing and maintaining our vision of the school, we at Parkrand Primary School base our decisions on retaining, encouraging, and preserving all those traditional values of our past values which we accept as proven and self-evident truths.

I believe that Martin Luther King’s dream is relevant.  When I say relevant especially in the upheaval that we as a Nation have experienced.  Luther’s dreams should action an anchor and a dream for all South Africans to work towards and to embrace.

His dream reminds us of a world where people would have the courage to stand together, as a community, as a family, united in a shared belief in those values and virtues embedded in the best of their traditions.

King spoke of his conviction that a man must be judged, not only on the length of his life, and on his ability to live his life well and fully, to realise his fullest potential, but also judgement must include the breadth of lie – the difference which one has made to the lives of others and to the worlds which we share.  We call the breadth of life service – the need to leave each community, each small world you occupy, a better place than you found it.  King’s third part of his ‘measure’ comes from the height of life – the degree to which we understand the world beyond the self.  The height of one’s life is reflected in King’s line “you don’t HAVE a soul.  You ARE a soul.  You HAVE a body.”

It is what we carry within us which makes us what we are, and it is this, too that matters as we share in, and contribute to, the world of Parkrand Primary School.  For the secret to our wonderful success lies in the understanding which we all have, that a school cannot be judged solely on its material appearance and on its ‘brick and mortar’.  A school’s strength lies in its soul -at Parkrand Primary School we do not have values and traditions to which we pay lip service – we are the values, they are an integral part of our world and of each of us.  We, and our precious school, together are a soul, and we understand and cherish this truth.

King, said: “You know, if I were standing at the beginning of time, with the possibility of taking a panoramic view of the whole of human history up to now, and God asked me “what age would you like to live in?’ King, after considering and describing some of the wonderful times of our past, concluded, “/ would turn to the Almighty and say ‘If you allow me to live just a few years in my own time, I will be happy’.”

What was King’s point?  Essentially, that we are blessed by the times we are part of.  And we are blessed to have the strength to face the challenges of our times, so long as we understand the traditional values and beliefs we carry within us, and understand our own past and character, both as individuals and as a community.

What is the reason for the school’s success?  The answer lies in our strength- the strength gained through our strong sense of community, which is seen in our acceptance, both as individuals and as a group, of our responsibilities.  And from our determinations to live the length, breadth, and height of our lives, and in our shared understanding of the values and traditions which make up our world.

CS Lewis, in a letter to a friend, wrote about love, and about the question of what it means to love an institution of which you are a part.  What he asked, does love mean in the context of love and care for our school?  He said in his letter” “Love for a country or a school means love for people who have a great deal in common with oneself, and in that way it is like love for one’s family, or like love, when in a strange place, for anyone who once lived in one’s home town.  The familiar is in itself a ground for affection.”

Parkrand Primary School is a community made so strong by the pride and love we feel for the whole school, and the pride we can feel in our contribution to our success.  We accept the shared values, we are given strength by the conviction we share of the worth and value of our traditions, we aim for the same goals, and we gain courage through that sense of community which is, in itself, our strength.  As Lewis states, ‘it is like love for one’s family’.  And so it is as a family that we can all accept the credit for the successes we celebrate.  We can all feel so proud of the individuals whose achievements we recognise, and we must also take time to feel proud of the time that we have spent together, and the contribution made by you all.  Each of you have made a difference, as have your parents, and the wonderful staff.  And in that recognition, we must all understand – that it takes the best of what is within every one of us to make the real difference.  And Parkrand Primary School, our real strength, what it is about us that other schools envy without understanding, is that we don’t absorb the world around us.  The world around us, instead, reflects the best of what is in us.

And both for what you have gained, and what you have given, and for who you are and who you are becoming, we thank you.  I finish with a blessing as I wish you well for your future’ for the coming examinations and for a joy-filled Christmas.

“May you have happiness and peace.  May you receive encouragement when new frontiers beckon.  May you respond to the call of your gift and find the courage to follow its path.

May warmth of heart keep your presence alight and may anxiety never linger about you.

May your outer dignity mirror and inner dignity of spirit.  May you take time to celebrate the quiet miracles of your life.  May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven around the heart of wonder.”

In closing I wish to thank all our parents and learners for their support throughout the academic year of 2016.  To my educators, I am deeply indebted to you for your support and the superb work which you all do.  To the SGB and al its members – thank you for all your hard work.  To the PTA under Reza Postma – thank you for a fantastic Family Walk.  To the sports department, administrative staff and groundstaff – thank you.  To all our class reps – keep up the good work.