The Head’s Tale – Closing Remarks

As the year draws to a close, we try to take the time to recognize the many achievements of our girls in the Foundation Years, Middle Years, and Senior Years as well as our Athletes at the Recognition Assemblies that have been held over the past two weeks. I have also had the privilege of attending the Maggie Music Recitals where over 72 students shared their musical talents with friends and families.  We also had several of our students perform in the Speech Arts Festivals around Victoria showcasing their public speaking skills. I enjoy these events because of what they celebrate—the journey and the destination.  As you would expect, these celebrations recognize excellence in a variety of areas, but they also acknowledge the importance of teamwork, resilience, perseverance, spirit, growth, dedication, and stamina.  When you consider these qualities, you realize that they are the building blocks for success in life.

In late May/early June, we also celebrated the creative talents of our students during our Fine Arts Week.  We saw exceptional performances from our Junior and Senior Choirs, the bands, our aspiring young musicians, the drama group, as well a wonderful display of art and photography.  In early spring, our budding scientists did the school proud at the local and provincial level.  Throughout the entire school year, we have seen our students develop their public speaking skills and strengthen their leadership potential.  Every day our girls bring their passions to school seeking out leadership opportunities, engaging in a myriad of community causes that demonstrate our motto of “Servite in Caritate,” and finally displaying strong school spirit as they work together to create our school of one.  Excellence abounds at St. Margaret’s and we should all be proud of what everyone has accomplished to date.

Now to our grads:

You are a very special group—and not simply because of any one significant success or defining feature, but rather because as a group you represent two very important principles that are embedded in the Strategic Plan:

The first guiding principle:

  1. Leadership from within—You are our quiet leaders. You lead by example and not just through the activities which you actually led or organized.  You went about making sure everyone was included and every success was acknowledged.  You laughed at yourselves, you laughed with your friends, and you created a very joyful environment for us in which to teach and learn. All of you shared leadership responsibilities and all of you felt comfortable and confident to share your voices—both in Residence and within the school.  Your real legacy to the school is the creative way you led the assemblies in your demonstration of the SMS values and the innovative videos you shared at different events. You have openly embraced the true spirit of the School.

 

The second principle embedded in the Strategic Plan is the focus on:

  1. Personal Growth—I truly believe all of you are comfortable with who you are now and who you might be in the future. You treated everyone with kindness and demonstrated camaraderie and a very genuine desire to be inclusive of everyone from our youngest learners to our students from Chile, Japan, and all of our new students this year.  You allowed us to see the real, imperfect, flawed, quirky, weird, beautiful, and magical aspects of your personalities. You took care of each other and made sure that your overall well-being was first and foremost.  You engaged in a variety of activities that tested your comfort level and you made lasting impressions on teachers, residence staff, and community mentors. Your individual success stories reflect your growth over the time you have been at the school and what you have chosen to explore.

I applaud all of you for giving of your time and sharing your voices to make SMS the best it can be.  I want you to continue to share and celebrate the power of your voice—to express yourself, to help others, and to change the world. By actively searching for your voice, you will remove the noise that can easily distract you from your mission and you can clear the path to effect change in this world.  

So, if I have any words of wisdom, which is the privilege I get to provide as Head of School at this Closing event, I want you to consider the following set of questions to help uncover clues to your ever-developing voice:

  • What changes would you like to see in the world?
  • If you had one day left, how would you spend it and with whom?
  • What platform do you have for self-expression?
  • What evokes compassionate anger in you?
  • What makes you cry?
  • What have you mastered and what accomplishments are you proud of?
  • What gives you hope?
  • If you had all the time and money in the world, what would you do?

And finally,

  • What is your AWESOME?

Life often rolls out like a complex and curious process of circumstances, opportunities and collisions providing a myriad of options for you to consider.  If you know your WHY behind what you say, respond to and do, you will be able to accomplish or endure much more than you thought you could. As it takes a lot of work to develop your voice, don’t let it go silent! Use the power of your voice to make a significant contribution to this world in which we live.

On behalf of the School, I want to wish the grads of 2018 a future full of possibilities, joy, and fulfillment.  Be yourself.  Go out there and do whatever you do for no other reason than you love it and believe in its importance.  Try to embrace what the world has to offer and learn to appreciate that trying and failing is a powerful learning lesson which will expand your horizons and open up new possibilities.   And finally, live the St. Margaret’s vision of CONFIDENT GIRLS. INSPIRING WOMEN.  Go out there and live extraordinary lives—on your terms and against your benchmarks!  And finally, please stay connected with your peers, and with the school. We would love to keep hearing your success stories as you go forward onto new adventures and new challenges.

Thank you and have a great summer. 

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