Handing over the baton
In thinking about what to write this week, I was reflecting upon the wisdom of many of our students and how observant and reflective they can be.
This is one of our Captains’ secondary school assembly addresses. Once again, we see how much we learn from our young people and the importance of authentic student voice. (The reference to Robert Burns is an added bonus for those of us who are English teachers!)
Ethan: The time has come when we begin to hand over the baton and welcome the new group of leaders for next year. But this act of handing over the baton is not exclusive to us as Year 12s, it’s applicable to every one of you in this gym today, because you all leave a legacy for the year below to receive. Radford in itself is one endless relay race, with the culmination of each year a metaphorical exchange of the baton where an outgoing year hands the baton to the next year and they continue the race. As any good relay team will know, this handing over the baton is the most important part of the race – do it well and you set up the next leg for success, but do it poorly and before you know it, you’ve tarnished your leg and hindered the next group. So as we approach Term 4, and enter the stage of the relay where both parties start running to prepare for the handover, we decided that we wanted to emphasise the importance of leaving things better than when you received them.
Amy: Although today the focus is on the future leaders of the College, leaving things better than when you received them doesn’t just relate to leadership positions or badges. If anything, it relates more to the everyday interactions amongst year groups that have helped build the strong sense of community that we have here at the College, and the pride which comes with wearing the College crest. When you all leave at the end of the year, bright-eyed and keen for holidays, it won’t be long until you find yourself back at school, ready to start a new year, face different challenges and make more memories. But there’ll also be the year group below you, starting where you left off and following in the footsteps that you left behind from your experience in that year.
Katie: An obvious handover is the one that the Year 10s receive as they inherit the glamorous white shirt. Along with the added responsibility of not staining our shirts with tomato sauce, the decisions that we make as senior students – how we use the kitchen, how we drive, how we spend our free periods – sets a precedent for incoming year groups, and how we use these privileges not only reflects on a year group but also on senior students collectively as role models within the college.
Another handover that we often forget about is the budding Year 6 students who join the high school. Transitioning out of their respective junior schools, these newly inducted high schoolers become part of a community and are easily identifiable. In our interactions within the school grounds, on sporting fields or even just in public, if we are kind and courteous, then these new students inherit a positive legacy and one that agrees with the values that we pride ourselves on.
Will: As students who wear the Radford uniform, it is important to remember that we inherit the reputations of those who came before us and have an opportunity to leave an impression for those following us to look at and even be inspired by. This can be as simple as giving up your seat on a bus for a person who needs it, or putting your rubbish in the bin, but whatever you do during your time at Radford, always remember to leave it better than when you received it.
As the great 1700s Scottish poet Robert Burns once wrote:
O were my love yon Lilac fair,
Wi' purple blossoms to the Spring,
And I, a bird to shelter there,
When wearied on my little wing!
How I wad mourn when it was torn
By Autumn wild, and Winter rude!
But I wad sing on wanton wing,
When youthfu' May its bloom renew'd.
Now, I have no idea what this actually means but it sounded intelligent and impactful. I heard it on TV once and apparently, it’s about renewal. But I think if Robert Burns was here today, he’d say “pass that baton on with style and grace, even if it is difficult, you’ll be all the better for it”. And to this we’d all say, “Robert could you please repeat yourself; I’m having trouble understanding you under that thick 18th century Scottish accent”. So, do yourself, this school and Robert Burns proud: pass that baton on with the pride that you’ve given it.
Good Luck Year 12!
(Claire Melloy: And remember, we will still be here next year and would love to see you)