Many a time, children at Blue Coat will be presented with a metaphorical mountain to climb. It will seem to them that, even with crampons, the ascent is still impossibly steep. In an era when young people are given the impression that achievement is synonymous with fame, and that fame means being on television or very wealthy, we as sherpas have a corrective task to do. It is our duty to encourage youngsters to push themselves both physically and intellectually; to help them come to terms with temporary failure; to push them beyond that towards ultimate success. In a week when a former Russian spy has been poisoned in London, Silvio Berlusconi has been resurrected from political oblivion in Italy and Donald Trump has lost another tranche of advisers in Washington, where should we look for an example of what is virtuous and exemplary?
We might think of Leonardo Da Vinci painting the Sistine Chapel, lying on his back. Or, more topically, we could look at the life of Sir Roger Bannister, the first man to run a mile in under four minutes. On a cinder track. Taking time off from his studies. Bannister did not rest on his laurels. He went on to be a leading neurologist, and acted as a source of inspiration to thousands of young people. He did what was considered impossible, and, until his death, remained the epitome of modesty. It is worth remembering, incidentally, that Bannister would not have cracked the four minute barrier without help. His historic achievement at Iffley Road in Oxford was the result of a team effort involving Chris Chataway and Christopher Brasher.
As Mr Trump is in danger of discovering more than sixty years later, teamwork is vital. In our relatively humble way, on the Blue Coat campus, we have seen proof of that dictum during the past few days. After a snowy end to last week, the Estates team did a sterling job getting the campus fully functional for the children’s return. And without everybody pulling together, the St Margaret’s House Charity Day would never have been such a success. The assembly was first rate and the whole day went really well. Thank you so much to Mrs Lynn, all the House Staff, parents and children for coming together and creating such a great event.
The excitement of the BCS Music Festival reached fever pitch on Thursday evening. Congratulations to all the competitors. Like Bannister, they have trained hard and have been determined to be the best they can be. They are a credit to the school. Congratulations especially to our eventual winner, Tristan Wong. A special thank you must go to Mr Nicklin and Ms Akehurst for the excellent organisation of this event and to Mr Elliott for acting as our accompanist. Mrs Gregory and Mr Dukes were our adjudicators, and I know that the decisions they took were not easily taken. Both commented that the standard of the children’s musicianship was well above their years.
On Wednesday the Pre-Prep had their Mother’s Day Assembly. This was a delightful, heartfelt occasion that brought a tear to the eye. Thank you to the staff and children for working so hard on this Assembly. To all the mums at School, have a super day. I trust that your children will look after you royally this Sunday.
A massive well done to our budding artists who were awarded a number of awards and commendations at the National Art Awards. Mrs Lambert-Green and the Pre-Prep staff should be very proud of the support they have given to our budding Da Vincis. The children have done themselves proud. Their work is on display at Malvern St James this weekend.
I would like to congratulate our swimmers for an exceptional display at the IAPS National Qualifiers at Repton School. We wait patiently to hear if we have qualified from the regional final so that we can compete in the National Finals at the Olympic pool in London. Mr Kelly’s report outlines the day. In Netball, after a super display in the group stages, our Under 11 netballers lost narrowly in the quarter finals at the National Qualifiers at Uppingham School. Well done to all the girls for representing the School with distinction.
I am looking forward to heading to the Pre-Prep disco this evening to join my fellow fathers in embarrassing our children with some 80s Dad dancing!
Have a great weekend!
MR NOEL NEESON | HEADMASTER