I wrote earlier in the term about ‘what it means to be authentic’. The first of the seven components of authenticity is: authentic people are not afraid to be who they are. Their actions show that they are not trying to put on a “mask”. They are secure in who they are. They know their strengths and use them in a loving, compassionate way. There is no building themselves up to look better, there is no tearing others down to make them look worse. And this is what I have witnessed for the past three weeks.
As Year 12 classes have come to an end for the 2020 cohort, the girls ensured they exited with a creative ‘bang’, culminating in the Mock Assembly. This is a time when the student becomes the master, and inhibitions are let loose to parody the staff of Glennie. Not even the School’s painter was spared.
All of this, carried out with the best of intentions, crystalises two things for me: 1. it makes one reflect upon one’s personal idiosyncrasies and 2. the girls are watching all of us intently, all of the time, and we should ponder the ramifications of that.
With some significant Year 12 celebrations over, the girls must now get-down-to-business as the commencement of external examinations begin next week, the first in Queensland in over a generation. This is not a new phenomena for me; external examinations have been the only thing I have ever known as a student myself and then an educator. There is no doubt that this scenario invokes pressure and expected pressure; managed pressure and pressure that has an end-point can be a good thing which brings out the best in us. In fact, it is appropriate to take comfort in the words of Abraham Lincoln:
“It is said an Eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent him a sentence to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented him the words ‘And this, too, shall pass away’”, Lincoln told the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society in a September 1859 speech in Milwaukee.
“How much it expresses!” Lincoln went on. “How chastening in the hour of pride. How consoling in the depths of affliction!”
To the Year 12s and their families, “This too shall pass”.
What supports Year 12 at this time is knowing that they are well prepared for this situation; their teachers and the wider Glennie community have all had a part to play in ensuring they have been provided with the best opportunities for them to achieve to the best of their abilities. Whilst there is no doubt that this cohort has faced more challenges than most, this has created a group of young women determined to meet the challenge and rise above it. They have sought to build ritual into the process of leaving by having traditional events at different times, in a different order but enveloped in the Glennie culture. This has secured that the passion with which the girls hold Glennie dear to them, still resonates. They are sure in who they are because they are authentic, and being authentic is not easy in 2020. and yet they have done it. Bravo.
With every wish and blessing.
Ms Mary Anne Evans