Finishing One Thing Means Starting Another
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (from the Bible)
As I write these thoughts, our senior secondary team are making their final preparations for the Valedictory Dinner. This dinner is a celebration of the end of secondary school, it will be great fun. Along with the fun of the celebration, there will be poignancy; a certain bittersweetness about the end of our time with our students, and the end of their time with us.
There is also an end to their time together. Hopefully they will stay as friends, and in touch with each other. Some might even enter the same university or workplace, but they will never again be students together as one cohort. There is an end, and this is the end.
All of life shows us that the end of one thing is the beginning of another. When we come to the end of the road, both literally and metaphorically, we face a choice of new direction. Crossroads, roundabouts, T-intersections and cul-de-sacs are real roadway possibilities. They also become effective metaphors for what choices may confront our young people as they finish secondary schooling and time moves them further into their lives.
All of our graduates are gifted. They have been gifted by God in one way or another, and our hope is that schooling has helped them to identify their gifts, strengths and passions.
Gifts and giftedness can look vastly different. Some of our graduates might have the gift of people-skills, others might be gifted academically. Some will be gifted with a great heart for caring, and others’ gifts might be intelligence, strategic thinking or scientific acumen. A richly valuable gift that some of our young people will have is to move into their family business. For example, I have seen students go from school into a family business, to take up an apprenticeship as a tradie. What a wonderful gift that is for the graduate and their family both.
Defining all these opportunities as gifts would seem strange at some schools. Some schools narrowly define giftedness as that idiosyncratic intelligence that a small percentage of all populations have. Our school is a Christian school, so we recognise that all our students have gifts, it is just a matter of identifying those gifts and helping them to best prepare to fulfil the calling that is on their lives. We are looking at the whole person rather than reducing student capacity to mere academic prowess.
We would say that what students do after they leave us is what really defines success. And we would add that it matters that success is meaningful, not only measurable. So, as we prepare to celebrate with our graduating senior students, it is reassuring to know that with wisdom, their gifts, their strengths and their passions can carry them into their future for a life of meaningful service to others and to God.
David Gleeson, Principal