“Believe you can…”

“Believe you can and you are halfway there.”

Theodore Roosevelt

There is a fairly famous photograph of the British Prime Minister stranded half-way along a zipwire that gets pulled out by editors whenever they wish to have a bit of fun at Mr. Johnson’s expense. Sadly, judging by news shared this week there is not so much to be laughing about on this occasion. On Tuesday, I was observing a PE lesson where pupils from Year 9 ascended our climbing wall with both grace and courage. In doing so they were being more Isabelle Patissier or Alex Honnold than Mr. Johnson. Where the British Premier is stranded in a mess of his own making our pupils were problem solving and continuing to climb, they were supporting each other to gain greater heights, and in a week when one who should have known better was clinging on rather grimly, they were moving ever on up with style.

Monday also saw a celebration of the half-way point of the academic year. We’ve passed the middle and are now on the other side of the mountain; soon enough we will be hurtling towards the summer and before we know it the end of the year will be closing in on us. This week also saw at least one European country relax their COVID rules and who knows, following the half term break we may see a change too. Whilst I’m far from expecting anything, I am rather hoping that we may be able to move closer to normal than has been the case during the first half of the year. If that is the case, then there are more adventures to be enjoyed both in and out of the classroom. All that said I’ m bearing in mind the careful explanation that I was given by a member of Year 2 about the fate of the Titanic and how it had been fine when it left Belfast. Perhaps I should rein in my expectations a little for fear of COVID shaped icebergs.

Our pupils are fortunate to enjoy the opportunities of a well-resourced school. It is to the credit of our older pupils that they are ready to think of others who are perhaps less fortunate. The latest community service initiative is the establishment of our very own shop which will throw open its doors tomorrow. So, if you are in the market for books, clothes, toys or sports equipment then do come and pay the team a visit. Opening hours are 10:00- 12:00 (vaccine passes are required and numbers in the shop will be limited). Proceeds are bound for excellent causes including our partner schools in Cambodia.

This may be halfway through the year, but it marks a beginning of sorts. Next week sees the start of the higher education process for Year 12 (Lower VIth). As those in the year above are receiving offers and focusing on the next step, they begin to consider their life outside of school. They will be heading up the next pitch of the climb and I know that they have every right to think ambitiously about their next move. As they do so I hope that they consider their pursuit of excellence with a greater degree of integrity than has been on show elsewhere this week.

Nicholas Hammond