The Power of Words

Mr David Proudlove | Head of Senior School

‘Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young, but be an example for the believers in your speech, your conduct, your love, faith and purity’.  (1 Timothy 4:12)

By my very rough calculations, after nearly 5 years at SCOTS PGC, I reckon to have written around 40 articles for the front page of the Newsletter.  I am able to say without a shadow of a doubt or the slightest hesitation, however, that I have never before opened with (i) a quote from the Bible and, contemporaneously (ii) a quote directly lifted from a Prefect application form, written by a current Year 11 student!

Having read, and re-read a truly remarkable and quite unforgettable 800 or 900 words from this gifted author, I am still somewhat lost for my own words, such is the intensity, the humility and the passion expressed by this student.

With these weeks really being the beginning of the end for Year 12 students (QCS examinations now behind us and plans afoot for ever more innovative and imaginative ways to celebrate and commemorate their leaving of our comfortable, familiar fold) my focus here was bound to be these first steps in the formal, ‘changing of the guard’, as one cohort contemplates life after school, and their successors gaze eagerly at the myriad opportunities left in the wake of the impending departures.

One of the questions we ask of candidates for Prefect is, ‘What qualities do you feel you have that would make you a good Prefect?’

What parent wouldn’t be thrilled, and beyond proud to read the following as a response:

‘I work really hard at home, work and school, and in anything I do.  I strongly believe that putting love into anything you do is an important factor in life.

I believe I am a good role because I know how to look after people.  I give it my all when I contribute in activities even if I am not very good.  I believe as a leader you should always act as if your mother is watching you.

Younger people often mirror what you are doing, so I think it is vital to act appropriately at all times’.

And as if that wasn’t sufficient respect for parents and evidence of awareness that even young adults influence their still younger counterparts, check out the answer to the next question, which was, ‘What leadership and/or teamwork have you shown outside College life?’

‘Outside of school I have a job at ……., involving managing clients, sales, cleaning up sheds, handling money and being empathetic towards people suffering the hardships of the drought at this present time.  At home my parents are often busy with chores, and their work, so my brother and I are responsible for feeding cattle, horses and dogs.  It is really hard work, but we love it.  I believe this shows leadership because I help others to get things done, rather than leaving other people to do things for me’.

It would have been difficult to create a better impression of a young person of remarkable depth and quality, but wait, there was more to come, in her answer to the final question, ‘If you were successful in this application, what would you most like to achieve as a Prefect?’

‘We should show more appreciation for our teachers, parents and all the staff members in our school.  We are all part of a community and here for the same purpose.  I believe we should recognise what people do for us, for example have a week where we give flowers or another type of gift to any of the adults we appreciate.  This shouldn’t just be limited to students giving gifts to teachers, but also teachers giving gifts to other teachers, or parents to teachers.  Perhaps write a note, or even make a video?  I would like to make people feel appreciated’.

And to then round everything off with the most apposite quote from the scriptures that I could ever imagine; forgive me for repeating it here:

‘Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young, but be an example for the believers in your speech, your conduct, your love, faith and purity’.  (1 Timothy 4:12)

How lucky are we to have a new student with this character and these values, plus the enviable ability to communicate them to others.

It is a privileged role to journey alongside young people as they seek to find their place in an ever-changing world; with challenges and rewards, disasters and triumphs, heartaches and joy.  How reassuring to know, as we have been assured by this student not yet 17 years of age, that we are truly and sincerely appreciated.