Best wishes to our Grade 12 students as they embark on their final semester of schooling. We are all with you!
I am sure we can all remember back to an occasion during our own schooling journey when the approaching of a new year or semester filled us with a mixture of excitement and nervousness. There is something about going on an extended break that wipes the slate clean, and no matter how long one has been attending a school, there is often that sense of anticipation as to what things will be like when we enter the campus again.
These emotions were clearly visible as secondary students returned to the ISPP campus for Semester 2. Standing just beyond the gate waiting for them to enter, I could see our younger Grade 6 and 7 students scanning the open areas for their friends, then dropping all pretensions by sprinting towards them once they had been identified. Our older students, much more subdued in disposition, would amble cooly towards a group of their peers, their masks unable to hide their smiles and happiness about being back at school with their friends.
Then it clicked. The older students that I had just been watching were the very same students who were bounding around the secondary school with youthful enjoyment when I first joined ISPP in 2015. Here they were, just months from graduation, almost ready to leave our ISPP nest, retuning back for their last semester with that same sense of anticipation. The years seemed to have passed in the blink of an eye, yet these young adults were almost unrecognizable from the young adolescents they were five and a half years ago. Witnessing students of all ages enter our campus at the start of this semester, it is obvious that whilst the priorities and needs of learners undoubtedly change over their schooling years, the one constant, binding element are the connections made while on this journey.
Last week our Grade 12 students were sized up for their graduation gowns, another step towards completing their formal schooling. Given the disruptions our learners have faced over the past ten months in their education, their attitude and outlook are not only commendable but worthy of celebration. They were still smiling and laughing, still valuing the connections with their peers and still talking about their dreams in the weeks and months ahead.
This semester was the last time in their schooling journey that the Grade 12 students entered campus once again after an extended break. Whilst they are almost ready to fly away to various destinations and begin life after school, there is still a lot of learning to happen leading into the upcoming IB examinations in May. Between now and then, I will be encouraging these students to reflect on their schooling journey and remember the connections they have made over the years. Hopefully, they will be able to look back at how they used to run back onto campus after a break with enthusiasm with fond memories. Hopefully, they can reflect on how both the good times and the challenging times they have faced throughout the schooling journey has helped shape them into the remarkable young adults they have become.
Jonathan Smedes | Acting Secondary Principal