At the start of each year, we enjoy the opportunity to assemble as a school and celebrate the start of another school year. In past, this has been in person.........

At the start of each year, we enjoy the opportunity to assemble as a school and celebrate the start of another school year. In past, this has been in person, usually in the CGA, but we were once again compelled to go virtual. Nonetheless, all three services were memorable and a lovely way to commemorate a new beginning.

As I have in past, I like to speak to the students using a simple metaphor or parable to convey a message I hope they consider when approaching the year ahead. This year I drew comparisons between them and the baobab tree, the iconic tree of the African Sahara.

I spoke of the trees many adaptations it has developed to thrive in an arid and often harsh environment. Essentially, I spoke of its ability to attract, collect and draw strength from all that is good. This may be by attracting pollinators such as fruit bats through its fragrant white flowers or storing water in its porous wood which is collected using stems that form “U” like funnels to channel water into holding canals.

Whilst it can be a magnet for all that is good, it is also able to protect itself and repel those things that are harmful. It has shiny and slick outer bark that allows it to reflect light and heat so keeping it cool in the intense sun. The reflective nature of the bark also aids in protecting the tree from the effects of wildfires and its slippery skin is useful in keeping animals from climbing it and eating its leaves and flowers.

I put to the students whether in 2021, will they be able to do the same?

I asked them, will they be able to avoid those things that may be harmful, can they adopt a stance that will resist that which is damaging? Will they look to absorb the goodness and richness of all that they have the good fortune to experience this year, and importantly retain that which nourishes the spirit and makes them stronger? Storing this goodness will prepare them for when difficulties arise, as you will be able to draw on this preserved strength, stand strong and weather any storm. Catch and funnel every bit of sustenance you can - from family, from friends, and of course from school.

I concluded my address with the challenge to be like the baobab, soak up all that is good, reflect away all that which is harmful, and in turn a most successful year awaits.

Bill Sweeney - Principal

 

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