What is Education? School Captain’s assembly

Image by KatieW

Looking back on my 7 years at school, it is hard to do it justice in a single assembly: I have truly had an amazing time at Nottingham High School. I vividly remember sitting in the Player Hall as a younger member of this school, listening to previous School Captains give their last assemblies and looking up to the “man-like” figures of Year 13 as they went about their end of school celebrations. Today, attending my own last assembly it is a strange feeling. The seven years have flown by, and I don’t feel as old as they seemed, but I do feel prepared to leave school and ready to face the chapter of my life that follows. This, I am sure, is due to the education I have received over the years.

But what is education? When I was looking for quotations about education I came across one by Einstein, who said that ‘education is what remains after one has forgotten everything they learned in school.’ I believe this is in line with what school offers us and how privileged we all are to gain so much more than academic learning. Whether it is playing sport, enjoying clubs or societies, attending the discos in Year 7 and 8, being next door to the girls’ school or taking advantage of school trips, the school offers us so many opportunities outside of the classroom.

There are countless fond memories I have of school and many of them stem from opportunities offered by the school that I have grasped. For example, D of E kayaking was not just a chance to learn to kayak, but it allowed us all to kayak down several of the country’s largest rivers and when the weather was good it was thoroughly enjoyable. Moreover, the spirit amongst the group was great and there are some really funny memories that I have from it. The rugby tour to South America was a once in a life-time opportunity. To travel somewhere with 40 boys is an experience in itself and the atmosphere of the touring party was amazing. The friendships between all members of the party were strengthened and I think everyone in my year that went would agree that it built strong bonds with the year above us that still exist. Beyond the rugby, the trip to Iguazu Falls can only be described as awesome and the opportunity to stay with local families provided a real cultural experience.. The maturity of all the boys on the tour was first rate and the only scare came when one boy lost his passport on the bus.

Rugby itself at school has been instrumental in shaping me over the years. Despite the lack of Saturdays for the last seven years and the cold winter training sessions, it is something I have enjoyed massively and my skills have developed over the years. Losing just one game in Year 11 and captaining the 1st XV to a winning season stand out as personal highlights, along with the friendships I have made with all my team mates over the years. In agreement with Matt and David’s assemblies last week, opportunities offer so many areas to develop skills that are valuable in all aspects of future life. I urge everyone to find something that you enjoy and make the most of it. The time flies by, but the valuable skills and great memories that you will gain will mean that when it comes to the end of your school careers, you will not look back with regret or missed opportunities, but feel ready to move on and face whatever follows.

However, when I think back to who I was when I joined this school at the age of 11 and see how I have developed and changed over the course of my time here, it is clear that the school’s atmosphere and day-to-day life is what shapes us most fundamentally. Everyone has their individual character, beliefs, interests and abilities, and it is the individuality of each of us that collectively makes the school so successful. But the atmosphere that embodies the school allows us all to thrive and achieve our own individual goals. It is easy to ignore this or not to see it, but I believe that choosing to come to this school is the best decision I ever made. If we had not come here we would all be different people with a different set of values.  Therefore, I urge everyone to enjoy your time at school and embrace the ethos that it has, whether you have weeks or years left, this will mean you can look back at your time at school with fond memories and with a platform that will allow you to achieve whatever you want in life.

I think I speak on behalf of my whole year when I thank all the teachers for not only teaching us academically, but for putting in so much extra time to give us everything else that the school offers. Finally, I would like to thank my own Year for making my time as School Captain so straightforward. You have all been so helpful and always been happy to give your time to help out. But more than that, I have always been proud to be a member of this school and it has been a joy to have shared the last 7 years of my life with you and you have provided me with some friendships that will last for years to come. Thank you.

Will Collier, School Captain 2011 – 12

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