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Headmaster’s Blog – Speech Day

July 11, 2011

Ballard School   Headmaster’s blog – Sunday, 10th July 2011

I have just dropped our Kenyan tour party at Heathrow. Twelve Year 11 and Year 12 (alumni) pupils are heading off for a month in Kenya, led by our Head of Science (Nick Hall). They have had to raise over £3,000 each for the opportunity to do community work and conservation projects with a school and local Kenyans. Whilst there will be a few holiday elements, this trip is mostly about giving rather than receiving, about hard effort and basic living. This theme was one we were encouraged to consider two days ago when we finished the Summer Term with our Speech Day. Guest of Honour was Adrian Hayes, a former Gurkha Army Officer, and now an explorer, adventurer and sustainability ambassador.  Mr. Hayes holds a Guinness world record for reaching the Earth’s ‘three poles’ (North, South and Everest) in the shortest period of time (19 months and three days). In his presentation and then his speech, he urged us to consider ways to sustain the Earth’s resources and to help others less fortunate than ourselves. As someone who left school at 16 years with few formal qualifications, he was also keen to stress the importance of seizing our opportunities and persevering whatever the odds. He quoted Lance Armstrong, the cancer-hit cyclist who has continued to set records, several times and this was his rallying cry: ‘Pain is temporary…but if I quit it will last forever’. As our Kenyan party sets off I am sure they will experience times of discomfort and tiredness along with exhilaration and energy but they will also come to know that by pushing themselves that bit harder and further they will have a deep satisfaction that they have made a difference to the lives of others in another part of the World.

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