First Assembly 0809
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Mr. Geoff Roberts' First Day assembly speech:
Good morning and welcome back. I’d like to extend a special welcome to the new boys here. By now you’ve probably learned where the washrooms are, where some of your classes are located, and perhaps you’ve started to make some new friends. It’s not easy starting at a new school – we realize that. We hope that the transition to Crescent School has been a good one so far.
At these events, the first full school assemblies, I have returned to a theme that centres on a question one should ask oneself every day: “How can I help?” I believe that asking that question of oneself forms the backbone of a man of character. But you can only help if you are strong enough to help. You must be healthy, centred and solid before you can lend a hand. So the first person you need to help is yourself.
And the best way to do that is to set a goal, and then make a plan.
To illustrate my point, all we have to do is think back a few weeks to the Olympics. Usain Bolt, the superhuman runner, had a dream, and he trained for years for his nine seconds of brilliance. Michael Phelps, who eats more in one day that most of us in a week, and swims faster than anyone on the planet, had a dream and a plan – and every day he trained to achieve his goal. Canadians Simon Whitfield and Adam van Koeverden had dreams as well, and every day they gave of themselves as they worked towards their Olympic goal.
We don’t have to cast our minds all the way to Beijing to appreciate the importance of goals and the plans that support them. Last school year, Mr. Suckling climbed to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro, no small feat, but he didn’t wait until two weeks before the climb to begin training and packing. He was successful because he prepared, he planned, and he worked towards his goal. And Mr. MacRae biked from the top of Africa to the tip of that continent. That was his goal, and he trained for over a year to achieve it. These two men took great risks; their goal was a public one – but they were determined to succeed – and they did. But determination only gets us so far. They made a plan and they stuck to it. And because they did, they were tremendously successful.
So how can you help? Well, you can begin by helping yourself. What is your dream? Do you want to make an athletic team, or attain a certain overall average? Perhaps it’s to reach 85 per cent in French, or to secure a part in a play, or to be asked to improvise at a concert for your parents during Music Night. Or perhaps you wish to be a House Captain, Prefect or Mentor Group Senior. Or maybe all you wish to do is to be a positive influence in someone’s life – which may be as simple, but as important, as washing some dishes, setting the table for dinner, and cleaning up after yourself at home. These are all worthy dreams, but a dream without a plan will remain just that – a dream. You’ve got to have a plan.
So this is my challenge to you. Ask yourself: How can I help myself this year? What is my goal? And then to make that goal a reality, articulate it. Write it down somewhere safe. And then speak to your parents, form teachers, mentors – whomever – who will help you devise a plan for success.
I have a goal and I have a plan. And this speech today is the beginning of both. My goal is for this year to be the best year in your life – not the best year in Crescent history. This is personal; it’s about you. And for this to be the best year in your life you’ve got to have a goal and a plan to achieve it.
What’s your goal? What’s your plan? Answer those questions, please. That’s your homework from the Headmaster for this evening. Your teachers and mentors just might take up that homework in the days and weeks ahead.
I wish you all success this year. Welcome back.