Good morning everyone. I really can’t believe that it has been a whole year since the last time I had the opportunity to address you all in these wonderful surroundings. Time really does go by so fast. So fast, in fact, that we seldom have the opportunity to appreciate the journey we have been on together. So fast, in fact, that we forget the detail of the events, conversations and lessons we have all been a part of.
I stand here today so proud of our school, so proud of our staff, so proud of our governors; of our parents and carers, so proud of you and the part that each one of us plays in our history. I stand here today so that I can encourage you to think about the challenges of 2016 and make new promises to yourselves for the year ahead.
So ask yourself: has 2016 been everything you hoped for? Have you made the progress, joined the clubs, worked for the community, helped your family, applied for university, or got that job? Have you ensured that you will look back on 2016 with pride - thinking it really has been a very special year?
You will all have different priorities in life, the things which make you tick: exam results, family, helping others, money or fame and fortune. But remember this – you all have the same very special gift inside you – regardless of your hopes and fears and dreams. You all have the gift to improve someone else’s life. You have the gift to help others. I don’t mean voluntary work – although it can be. I mean those daily acts of kindness which can lift the spirits of the people around you. A smile, a nice comment, an offer to help with a task, saying thank you – they are all the first steps to helping others feel better and, in return, you feel good about yourself.
You might ask me – why bother? I am too busy to do this….
Well, unfortunately, for some people, Christmas is not a time for celebration. We may know people who have lost a loved one this past year or may be looking after someone who is sick. Some may be worried about loved ones who live abroad or who are serving in the forces in a conflict zone. Some families may be struggling financially and Christmas is a burden they really can’t afford. Maybe one of your priorities in the New Year could be that you look out for those who are not as fortunate as you.
You will only get one chance at 2017 – make it count. Make it count for you and make it count for others!
This past term has been amazing and I have been so proud of the commitment and enthusiasm of staff, students and governors to ensuring our school continues its long tradition of striving for excellence and being fiercely ambitious.
There are so many wonderful examples of this fierce ambition – far too numerous to mention all of them.
Football, netball, cross country, badminton, rugby, tennis, International Day, Citizenship Day, European Day of Languages, China trips, ski trips, our house system and prefect system - to name a few – are the things that make LCHS a school with a genuine community spirit.
Our recent performance of ‘That’s How We Roald Dahl’ was simply amazing. We must all be very proud of the exceptional talent we have in school. Both staff and students worked tirelessly to ensure this performance was truly one we will never forget. From actors to musicians; from directors to backstage crew – a sincere thank you to all involved for making the end of this year so special.
Our Open Evening in September saw over 1000 people attending. Prospective students and their parents saw the best we had to offer, including our fabulous facilities and, most of all, our talented and amazing students. Students performed plays and music, acted as guides and were excellent ambassadors for our school. It was a great evening and one which will stay with me for a long time.
It has been a very busy start to the year with the Year 7 foundation service, construction week, senior prize giving, Chinese exchange visits, basket weaving, the amazing brick lincs event, the malteser challenge, the Roald Dahl dress up day, student voice, Sixth Form trips, field trips, Connor being accepted onto the young engineer programme, Sophie raising over £700 for Macmillan Cancer by shaving her head, the Year 9 Steps to Success performance, welcoming our visitors from Amsterdam, Isla winning the National Spirited Arts competition, Year 11 gaining distinctions for their work experience placements, the Spanish trip, students’ competing in the Rotary Chef competition, our new reading scheme launch, the impressive Sixth Form convention, the trip to see Leicester Tigers, World Hello Day, becoming an official DoE centre, our exceptional students who won the Project X competition at RAF Waddington – after 7 years of trying - not to mention the Christmas fayre and the Children in Need activities – the list really is endless.
All of this is just for this term. It is staggering! We have come a long way. You have worked exceptionally hard in your lessons – aiming for highly aspirational and challenging targets. I am very proud of how you have taken on the challenge to exceed expectations.
All of these things are examples of how commitment, hard work and an inspiring sense of community can lead to very special outcomes. The students and staff involved in all of these things have shown an ‘I CAN’ attitude, a ‘WE CAN’ attitude. With this attitude, it becomes very clear that through determination, resilience and working together, extraordinary things can happen.
I read in a newspaper article that students in England make less progress with their studies than students in many other countries. I wonder why this is. Don’t we want success? Don’t we have a passion to succeed? Don’t we want a life that is meaningful? It doesn’t have to be this way. But there is only one person that can change this. You.You have one life – live it!
Each one of you is extraordinary. You all have something very special to show or to give. Each one of you has it in yourself to be inspiring and motivational – to stand out from the crowd and show that we can positively influence and change the lives of the people around us as well as our own. 2017 will present new challenges.
We will ask you for an even higher standard of behaviour. We will ask you to look even smarter in your uniform and insist that you focus on reaching for aspirational targets. How will you react when we ask for more? Will you let 2017 come and pass and get to this point next year not being any further on than this? Will you opt out because to make a difference is difficult and takes effort? Or will you take up the challenge and be determined that 2017 will be the year of change – where you fulfil your potential and use this great gift inside you? Why should a student in another school or another country do better than you? You deserve the best and you deserve to be proud of your achievements.
I challenge us all here today – students, staff, governors, parents, carers – to present an unswerving determination which will ensure our school continues to grow, develop and improve even further.
Never forget – we are Lincoln Christ’s Hospital School – we are LCHS! Merry Christmas. Mr Mckeown