27 January 2017
Welcome to 2017, The Year of Possibility. First up, I would like to express my sincere gratitude for the wonderful welcome that I have had to The Glennie School. Students, staff and parents have been overwhelmingly kind in their words and gestures of welcome.
In line with The Year of Possibility I have been speaking to students about the quote by St Francis of Assisi, "Start by doing what is necessary, then what is possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible”. I explained that whilst at the start of a big project (be it an artwork, a maths assignment or preparing for a big test) the task may seem overwhelming, if it is broken into small chunks anything is possible. An example that I shared was when sitting down to study for two hours for a looming test, rather study for 20 minutes, break for 5, study for another twenty and so on. In this way the task is no longer daunting, yet the outcome has been achieved.
I also stressed the importance of taking risks, of not being afraid of ‘failure’. Afterall, nothing great was ever achieved, no learning ever done without an element of failure, an element of disappointment. At Glennie our focus is on immersing yourself in learning, on becoming more interesting and interested people. As such there can be no such thing as failure, if you are prepared to listen to feedback, revisit the situation and try again, and again and again. I am not promoting a desire to fail, far from it, but rather a desire to rise to the challenge, to take risks in a secure environment. There can be no better place to fall down than when surrounded by supportive staff, students and parents who can help pick you up, dust you off and encourage you to make another attempt. I will leave you with the famous quote by Michael Jordan that I shared with the girls, “I have failed over and over and over in my life and that is why I succeed’.
Ellie de Jong and Pippa Beeson addressed the students on middle Years and Senior years assemblies this week. They had some wonderful messages for the girls. Please see their speech below:
Mrs Kim Cohen
Welcome back everyone to the start of a new school year. It is a real pleasure and an honour for Pippy and myself to be able to welcome you. I hope you all had a great holiday: sleeping in ‘til lunch time, catching a movie or some sun at the beach . . . however you spent your time I hope you feel recharged and ready for 2017.
2017 - The Year of . . . Possibility. Let’s start by asking “what does possibility mean”. Possibility can be interpreted as: a thing that may happen. So, perhaps, the year of possibility means making the most of opportunities that Glennie has in store for us.
Another definition of possibility is "...one's utmost power, capacity and ability." To reach our individual possibility and potential, and really be all we can be, we should try to take every opportunity that comes along to grow and to develop in ourselves, whether it be academically, in sport, performing in the arts, or anything we choose.
Think back to last year....I'm sure we can all think of things that went really well for us - and things that didn't. Things we enjoyed doing, and things we didn't. The challenge this year will be to try to change those things that we didn't enjoy doing, or where we didn't perform at our best. This is where possibility happens! When you begin to think about how things could be different, you are considering 'possibility'.
The only limits to our possibilities, are the limits we place on ourselves. Fear of what others think of us and doubt in our own abilities will stop us from being all we can be.
On the holidays, Pippy and I went a Student Leadership Conference where we had the opportunity to listen to the personal stories from truly inspiring female leaders. One of these speakers was Liz Volpe, one of Australia's leading female entrepreneurs who founded the League of Extraordinary Women. Her message was to embrace the word 'yes' - say “yes” to as many opportunities as we can. She also added that attitude matters - a positive attitude and mindset, and drive to have a go, will lead to success.
One of the workshops we participated in encouraged us to reflect on things that could be changed about our own school environment. Pippy and I both agreed that this year we would like to encourage and challenge everyone to join in school events, whether it be signing up for the swimming carnival, toughing it out at cross country or getting the most out of PDP days. Seize these opportunities while you are at school; they are there for a reason!
Have the courage to be involved. When sport sign-ups come around, consider the possibility of enjoying a new sport – there’s a good chance that you will have fun, learn a new skill and enjoy getting to know new girls, but you will never know unless you take that opportunity. Maybe you need to consider the possibility of putting more time into studying a certain subject to improve your grades. Remember – ‘power, capacity, ability. Set yourself some goals for what you want to achieve this year and write them down - once they're written down they will be easier to stick to. Don't feel like you have to achieve the possible on your own either – decide to do things together, and don’t forget to ask for help - make the most of the many talented, dedicated and experienced girls around you. Put your hand up in class and ask questions - your teachers are here to help you meet your goals. Maybe you are the talented, dedicated one - consider helping your friends and classmates reach their goals!
To the seniors - we are about to begin one of the busiest, most challenging years of school, but it will also be rewarding. It will be a year of 'lasts' - last assemblies, last exams - but perhaps you may also find some way to add in some 'firsts'. Stay organised, stay positive and remember that you don't want to look back wishing you'd done more, or wishing you could've tried harder.
So, ask yourself - what can I do to make this year great? Be courageous and take opportunities to achieve your personal possibilities.