GCSE exams typically begin around the second week in May 2019. Whatever your standpoint on booster sessions or Easter revision programmes, do whatever “little extra” it is that you do. Me, I find interesting stories and I write assembly.
Shortly after I joined The Wellington Academy in January 2013, I was
asked told to lead the Year 11 assemblies. This was my first Vice Principal role, I barely knew the students and we were short on leadership capacity.
I didn’t have the time to ask the parents to write in messages of support or send in baby pictures. I did what I could. With what I had. Where I stood.
I wrote a rough plan, eight or so assembly titles (I didn’t even have time to write a description) and sent these home to parents and carers and asked them for their support me, to simply ask their children about the Monday assembly each week. As for what I could gather, they did.
Drive to the finishline
So we began. Each assembly started with Ben Howard – Keep Your Head Up. It became our anthem.
Keep your head up, keep your heart strong.
No, no, no, no.
Keep your mind set, keep your hair long.
Oh my my darlin’ keep your head up, keep your heart strong.
No, no, no, no.
Keep your mind set in your ways, keep your heart strong.
When the sound track ended, the assembly started. Twenty minutes. Punchy.
- Push – peddle – pull (The story of Hoyt and Hoyt)
- Hard facts – the difference between GCSEs and none
- Persistence – the world’s greatest failures (you know the assembly)
- Cooperation – Capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella) Vulcan and Virgil
- The guru – “When you want to success as bad as you want to breathe…”
- Grit – “The study of everything else that leads to success, other than talent.” – Angela Duckworth
- Priorities and golf balls – no slides, just props.
- When you life depends on your plan – Felix Baumgartner
- Where are they now? Former TWA students success stories?
- Why are you not included? Not slides – a story.
No grand ending. Just a “Thank you – and keep you head up. Keep your heart strong.” We didn’t reach all of the students, we reached some. I think is made a modest different. The students acknowledgement made a different to me.
If you find yourself in a similar position, or short on time, and there is an assembly in that list that you think we help your students – let me know and we will find a way to get it to you.
Always on the look out
I am always on the look out for assembly fodder. Last week, I watched Matthew McConaughey’s 2014 Best Actor acceptance speech for his performance in Dallas Buyers Club. I am not sure where, but it would push one of those assemblies out of the top ten, probably push out “Why are you not included.”
There’s a few things, about three things to my count that I need each day.
One I need something to look up to, another something to look forward to, and another is someone to chase.
Now first off I want to thank God, because that’s who I look up to. He has graced my life with opportunities that I know are not of my hand or of any human hand. He has shown me that it is a scientific fact that gratitude reciprocates. In the words of the late Charlie Laughton, who said “When you got God, you got a friend, and that friend is you”
To my family, that’s who and what I look forward to. To my Father who I know he is up there right now with a big pot of gumbo. He has got a lemon meringue pie over there, he is probably in his underwear and he has got a cold can of Miller Lite, he is dancing right now. To you Dad, you taught me what it means to be a man.
To my Mother who is here tonight, who taught me and my two older brothers, demanded that we respect ourselves. And what we in turn learned was that we were better able to respect others. Thank you for that Mama.
To my wife Camila, and my kids Levi, Vida, Livingston. The courage and significance you give me everyday I go out the door is unparalleled. You are the four people in my life that I want to make the most proud of me, Thank you.
And to my hero, that’s who I chase. Now when I was 15 years old, I have a very important person in my life come to me and say, “Who is your hero?”. And I said I don’t know I gotta think about that, give me a couple of weeks. I come back two weeks later, this person comes up and says “Who’s your hero?” And so I thought about it and I said you know who it is, it’s me in 10 years.
So I turn 25, 10 years later that same person comes to me and goes “so are you a hero?” And I was like, not even close. No, no, no. She said “Why?” I said because my hero is me at 35. So you see every day, every week, every month and every year of my life, my hero is always 10 years away. I’m never going to beat my hero. I’m not going to obtain that, I know I’m not. And that’s just fine with me because that keeps me with somebody to keep on chasing.
So, to any of us, whatever those things are, whatever that is we look up to, whatever it is we look forward to, and whoever it is we are chasing… to that I say amen. To that I say alright, alright, alright. And to that I say just keep living huh. Thank you.