I thoroughly enjoyed watching this year's Senior Prefect Team present their key focus points in (socially-distanced) sectional assemblies earlier in the term. We ask our Senior Prefects to do this every year, and it is a great opportunity for them to put some perspective on the knowledge and experiences they have accumulated thus far and present their wisdom to the younger pupils in the School. Indeed, I think they are valuable reflections for us adults too! I have included their words below for us all to read.
Teddy (Captain of School)
We have all selected a quotation which we feel represents a key focus point which, when we put them together, will help us all to make the most of our time together at school this year. This is a very different school year we are living through, but we must hold on tightly to our shared values and look after each other, remembering that each of us will have our good days and our tricky moments, but that our community is based on caring for each other, including everyone and accepting that each individual has huge strengths which may be different from our own.
My quotation is:
"Friendship improves happiness and abates misery, by the doubling of our joy and the dividing of our grief.”
Marcus Tullius Cicero (Roman statesman, lawyer and scholar; 106 - 43BC)
We will all face hard times and we will all enjoy good times. I hope that, in both our ups and our downs, we can enjoy friendship. Helping those around us, while simultaneously being able to receive help ourselves.
“If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal. Not to people or things.”
Albert Einstein (Nobel Prize-winning theoretical physicist; 1879 - 1955)
I liked this quote due to the fact that it highlights how, if you want to succeed and do well, goal setting is an important aspect of that. In school and as you procced through your life, the people around you and the situation you are in will always be changing. Setting short-term goals and working towards the completion of a long-term goal can help you decide what you want to achieve in different parts of your life and education. Sometimes all it takes is for you to write that goal down and then it becomes something official that you are striving for and working towards.
“There are only four kinds of people in the world: those who have been caregivers, those who are currently caregivers, those who will be caregivers and those who will need caregivers.”
Rosalynn Carter (First Lady, USA, 1977-81, and President of The Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving; 1927 - )
Here Rosalynn Carter highlights how all of us at some stage are one of these four people. At some point this year we will all experience being each type of person and therefore, we should remember that we all will have ups and downs, in this particularly challenging year, but should remain sympathetic to others. Everyone should have the courage to be a caregiver and as a community we are all here to help those in need of care. The real challenge for many is realising when you may need to receive it.
“Thank you” is the best prayer that anyone could say. I say that one a lot. It expresses extreme gratitude, humility, understanding.”
Alice Walker (Novelist, poet and social activist; 1944 - )
My reading of this quote is that we must appreciate what we have at this school and make sure that every day, no matter how small it is, going from someone holding a door for you to someone helping you with work, you should always express your gratitude to others. We are extremely fortunate to be at such an amazing school and making sure you say “thank you” is just a small effort that makes others feel like it is all worthwhile and shows your personal appreciation.
"Do what you have to do, to do what you want to do."
Denzel Washington (Actor, director and producer; 1954 - )
I have decided to choose this quote because I feel that it represents 3 key Merchiston values. It represents integrity and sticking to your main moral principles. It shows dedication and the hard graft put into reaching your end goals. It also shows a positive attitude with yourself and others and making sure you stick to everything you have set out to achieve.
“What would you attempt to do if you knew you would not fail?”
Robert Schuller (Pastor and motivational speaker; 1926 – 2015)
Don’t be scared to fail, push the boat out and try new things. We need to try new experiences and be ready to learn from the mistakes we make. This learning is the key to developing a greater understanding of ourselves and of others.
“It is not always possible to be the best, but it is always possible to improve your own performance.”
Sir Jackie Stewart (Formula 1 World Champion and safety campaigner; 1939 - )
This quote speaks of self-introspection. We can't all be captains of rugby, top of the class, the fastest runner. But we can all look at every area of our life in school (and even at home) and make small adjustments. Be that to work harder in the gym, to spend more time reading around our chosen subjects, to push ourselves to the limit. If you know you have tried your hardest at something then you can be proud of the outcome, whatever that may be.
“True happiness is… to enjoy the present without anxious dependence on the future.”
Seneca the Younger (Roman philosopher, statesman, dramatist; 4BC – AD65)
This quotation from Seneca, a Hispano-Roman Stoic philosopher, is especially relevant in our current circumstances as it encourages us to realise that we must enjoy and take advantage of today rather than merely always look towards the future. This is relevant in the school environment as we must be thankful for the excellent education we are being provided while others throughout the world, due to the pandemic, do not have this same opportunity. This opportunity must be realised by everyone within the school community and taken advantage of, whether it be in the classroom, on the pitch or in House.
"Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen."
Michael Jordan (Former professional basketball player, considered the greatest player of all time; 1963 - )
This quote from Michael Jordan stood out to me as it emphasises the importance of making the most of opportunities and that it requires effort to achieve goals. At Merchiston, we are extremely lucky to have a vast amount of opportunities available to us and it is important that we make the most of those chances. I encourage you all to try something different, push yourself out of your comfort zone and make the most of the opportunities that you have.
So, to conclude, we hope that these messages will help us all to make the very most of this year and we wish you all have a happy and rewarding experience.