This week saw the Completion of Studies Ceremony for 6YL.
Master of Ceremonies Mr. Agustin Maggi welcomed HM Ambassador, Mr Ian Duddy, Mr. Martin Wells, the Chair of the Board of Governors, Governors, Trustees, all staff and students before Mr. Mark Rosevear gave the opening address.
Mr. Andrew Bunt, Head of Senior, assisted by the SMT: Cecilia Pombo, Vicente Cancellara and Florencia Paullier, presented school completion certificates to all students.
Julieta Alvarez gave a tremendous rendition of ´Brave’ to entertain everyone.
Head Boy and Head Girl, Andres Chang and Sol Slinger gave witty and humorous speeches about their friends, their time in the school and how much they recognised what the school has done for them.
Finally, Mr. Wells closed the ceremony, wishing the students every success for the future.
Mark Rosevear´s speech:
I imagine some of the parents in this room are thinking, ‘I cannot believe my child is finishing school’. Some of the students in the room will be thinking, ‘Yippee, I have finished school!’ You, like other students your age around the world, are ready to move on. We hope you have enjoyed your time here, and we hope you have learned something, and I do not just mean academic study. Everybody at school wants you to feel ready to face the next challenge in your lives.
I wonder if, like me, you are a little bored with people talking about how uncertain the world is now, and how jobs are different, how we don’t know the skills needed for the future and technology has changed everything. I am not sure how much is really that different than before, except maybe the pace of the change. When I was your age, people were saying that the use of calculators would be the end of students’ mathematical skills. Sadly, for those of you who are not fans of maths, that did not prove correct and we have both calculators and still learn maths, but maybe we learn it a little differently.
I wish to speak tonight about making decisions, and dealing with change. Both strike me as appropriate topics, especially as you are about to experience a big change in your lives. An old Celtic saying was, ‘the day of my death and the hour of my passing was decided long ago’. This is fate, and implies we have no say in our destiny. Is your future decided, or do you decide it? I know that might sound a little new age, but please bear with me.
So much comes down to making decisions. Everyone must take responsibility for their lives and for the decisions they make. Does that mean luck or destiny or fortune is not involved? No, almost certainly not, for some events occur that we have little control over. But your decisions shape where you go.
50 years ago, man first landed on the moon. I was a little young to remember it, but my mother told me I watched it with interest (on a black and white TV that probably weighed around 30kg), and like many young boys of the time, then told my parents that I was going to be an astronaut. As I am sure you can see, that did not happen. Some of you might even be thinking of a career as a professional rugby player based in Uruguay. Even two years ago, nobody would have believed that possible. Some of you will have decided on your careers, rugby player, astronaut or otherwise, and others will be unsure, and will change their minds more than once. There is nothing wrong with changing your mind. Confucius said that, ‘only the wisest and stupidest of men never change’.
The economist JM Keynes was once asked why he had changed his opinion over an issue that was being discussed. He replied, “When my information changes, I alter my conclusions. What do you do, sir?" This sounds fairly obvious, but unfortunately, it is very difficult for most people to do. Many studies have shown that once someone has invested time and effort in a project, and often money, even if they can see it is not working, they still continue along the same path. Why? It is called cognitive dissonance, and it affects all of us. We do not like to let go of ideas once we have invested in them. But at times, we must. Change is always with us, and as Benjamin Franklin wrote, ‘when you are finished changing, you are finished’.
Life can take you down many unexpected paths, and you meet many different people. You will not like all of them, but you have to learn how to interact with them. I learned more from a man who was a carpenter, than I learned from many highly educated people who I met in my life. I also learned a lot from many highly educated people. There is no formula. Treat everyone with respect, and listen to different ideas.
You have more opportunities now than ever. But choosing which to take is also harder. More opportunities mean more competition for those places. Competition is not a dirty word, but how you compete is very important. Most of you will be managers or leaders when you start work, and some of you will become very successful in your fields, but you will always need to remember those you work for you, and how to treat them well. Always remember that sometimes the people worth listening to are not necessarily the oldest, the loudest (who are often the most dangerous or least likely to offer good judgment), the ones with the best reputations or the most qualifications - but sometimes they can be. That is where you will need to use your judgment to decide whose opinions are worth listening to, and whose are not. But you will need to decide. As Margaret Thatcher famously remarked, ‘standing in the middle of the road is dangerous. You get run over by both sides.’ And sometimes, no matter how hard, you might need to think differently and change your direction of thought.
I am still relatively new to the school, although I mean it in the best possible way when I say it feels like I have been here for years. Today I can make this speech and honestly say I got to know some of you quite well. I was a tutor to some, accompanied the boys on the rugby tour, and covered classes with others. I have been impressed with you as people, even if some of you fought the words, ‘planning’ and ‘deadlines’ with an almost ideological fanaticism.
The late Joe Strummer of The Clash, wrote that ‘The Future is Unwritten’. Sir Winston Churchill, a man not lacking in self-confidence, wrote that ‘history will be kind to me for I intend to write it’. For all of you here, your future is unwritten. Make sure you are the ones who write it.