Earlier in the term I wrote about the School’s values and how they sprang from our crest and motto. Today is an excellent day to witness us, as a school community, living our values. Service can be expressed in many forms. Harvest food collections for local food banks, wearing spots and donating toys are all ways of reminding ourselves that there is a far larger world beyond the gates of the BSP and that we who enjoy so much have an obligation to share with others who have less.
But service is not simply making a donation and in doing so salving one’s conscience. We challenge students to think carefully about their giving; we encourage them to ask how much of their donation benefits the intended recipient and how much is lost along the way. One of the refreshing elements of the United World Schools charity that we have worked in partnership with to provide education in Cambodia is that we know every cent of our fundraising goes to the school in Bak Kae. All of the administration work done in London is paid for by City institutions, our fundraising benefits our partner school directly.
Today we have supported the long established BBC “Children in Need” appeal and the Chatou branch of the Red Cross. Both causes are well deserving and it is satisfying to be able to spread our support. In between the spot wearing and the cake sales and the fun that is to be had on days such of these I hope that every student has the opportunity to think about the importance of what they are doing. Perhaps it will encourage them to join the many young people in this school who make volunteering and service projects a regular part of their week. Much of this is done unnoticed and perhaps today we should take the time to quietly recognise those pupils who do think of others, from the Sixth Form students who gave up their summer holiday to travel to Nepal to work on earthquake reconstruction or Sri Lanka to work in a school, the pupils who go to local old people’s homes to play and to sing, those who sort through donations at Emmaus, to the pupils who sorted through old uniform items to be sent to the AIDS orphanage in South Africa and the others who give of their time and talent in so many different ways.
“There is more in you than you think” was a favourite maxim of the educational pioneer Kurt Hahn. In service activities we see the very best of our young people and it is through service to others that they begin to understand how much they can achieve when teamwork and compassion are combined. A lesson that is fundamental for the future of the world. A lesson worth celebrating.