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A week of GRIT at Kent College


Three pelicans were flying to a popular lake.  As they travelled, they were each lost in thought.

The first pelican thought to herself, “I love my beak.  It’s magnificent.  No other bird has a beak quite like mine.  When I get to the lake, I’m going to parade along the bank, showing off my beautiful beak and all of the other birds will be jealous.”

The second pelican thought to herself, “I love my beak and I need to protect it.  I can’t afford for it to get damaged, so I’m going to only catch small fish in shallow waters.  I know that I can do more, but it’s too risky.”

The third pelican thought to herself, “I love my beak.  It’s a beauty and I’m going to push the limits and get the most out of it.  I’m going to become the best catcher of fish in the lake.  I’ve been given this beak for a reason, so I’m going to work hard and catch the biggest fish out there.”

The meaning of this story is quite clear:

  • We’ve all been given unique talents, experiences and attributes for a reason.
  • Not to show off that we have them.
  • Not to do the bare minimum with them.
  • But to fully develop them and use them to their maximum capacity.
  • We are each here to make a positive difference to the world around us and are all equipped for the task.

I thought that we saw the values of this story very much in action during last week’s busy and exciting schedule of events.  The third pelican demonstrated that she had a great deal of GRIT and determination and that she was determined to give her time at the lake her very best effort. 

KC girls are:

  • Generous - support each other, their community and the wider world
  • Resilient - understand that you have to fail to succeed
  • Independent - prepared to take their place in the world
  • Tenacious - ambitious and determined

First of all, last Tuesday we had the Head Girl Team presentations, followed by the voting on Thursday and the new team appointed over the weekend and I will be announcing your new Head Girl and her 2 Deputies at the end of assembly.   The Upper Sixth had their last Parents’ Evening on Wednesday.  Then, I know that those of you who attended KC’s very first Sport and Wellbeing Exhibition on Thursday, were inspired by all you heard and saw during the course of the evening.  And then we welcomed a whole host of Old Girls on Saturday for a wonderful morning of hockey and netball along with current teams and parents.  

The Lower Sixth girls who addressed the school last week, spoke about the things that mattered to them and why they felt that they wanted to be your Head Girl.  They were not there to show off or because they were the highest performing academic students.  It was their human qualities that they had the courage to share with us. 

I know that Parents’ Evenings don’t count as exciting or entertaining events, but they are, nevertheless, necessary.  But, for me and the Upper Sixth teachers, it was so rewarding to hear how hard the girls are working and that they are determined to do well so that they can pursue their dreams and ambitions which range from University, to Art College to Drama School.  It was also touching to hear so many of them say that they will be very sad to leave KC as they have been so happy here. 

Then, at the Sport and Wellbeing Exhibition, I had the great pleasure and privilege to host our key note speaker, Ben Smith, who spoke about ‘The 401 Challenge’ in which he ran 401 marathons in 401 days. It was an inspiring story but in fact, the running was an aside.  What was applicable to everyone was hearing how he overcame his challenges and how his failures, even whilst running the 401 marathons, actually helped him to succeed and achieve his overall goal.

The Old Girls, Current KC Girls, Staff and Parents’ matches on Saturday were great fun but actually it was the generosity towards the KC community that was the most important part of the day.  So many people gave up their time to come together, share their stories and make a valuable contribution to an important KC tradition.   

I hope you will be inspired to walk out of assembly to be the very best version of you this week and indeed every week.  To finish, I would like to leave you with a short extract from an interview with Miranda Hart that I read in a magazine this weekend where she gives some good advice about being true to yourself.  

Q: Your new book [The Girl with the Lost Smile] celebrates friendship.  What do you value in a friendship?

A: I read a wonderful quote the other day saying that friendship is simply about being truly known.  Truly known for who you are.  You suddenly realise there are very few people you can wholly be yourself with and who really know you.  Those are your friends, that’s the thing to value. 

Q: What advice would you give your schoolgirl self?

A: Just be yourself, don’t be swayed by peer pressure and stop worrying, it all turns out fine. 

And as promised, I am pleased to announce that next year’s Head Girl will be Millie with Deputy Head Girls Hannah and Olivia.  

Posted: 01/05/2018 at 10:38
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