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…and have fun! – Headmaster’s Blog – Wednesday 19th October 2016

October 19, 2016
Ballard School Mikey Jones

…and have fun!

I remember as a youngster in a Scottish prep school being told the story of King Robert the Bruce as he faced yet another English army on the Scottish border. Bruce was apparently in a Highland cottage at the time when he watched a spider building a web, failing to complete a strand and trying again – and again. We had to draw a picture of this legendary event and give it a heading: ‘If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again’.

Recently we had a visit to Assembly from our gold-winning Paralympian swimmer, Mikey Jones. Mikey had been a pupil at Ballard from the Pre-Prep through to Year 11 before going off to Kelly College in Devon and then to Loughborough University. Here at Ballard Mikey struggled to get into the sports’ teams owing to his cerebral palsy disability. In football he couldn’t play ‘out field’ but he did manage to be the goalkeeper. He kept trying to find something active which he could do well and discovered swimming – a sport which his sixth form and university took to new heights ending, to date, with a gold medal in Rio 2016.

Ballard School Mikey Jones swimming

Mikey Jones tweeted us from the Rio pool, before his races

In the Assembly, Mikey spoke about his struggles as a youngster and also about his determination not to give in to his disability. Moreover, rather than preaching a message of self-help, he also stressed the importance of leaning on others, learning from them and seeking their support. He mentioned his peers in this regard but, in particular, his teachers. We all know how our pride urges us to ‘go it alone’ and to ‘hog the limelight’ when the reality is that we should look to our family, friends, our peers and work colleagues for their support. As is often said, there is no ‘I’ in TEAM.

2016-10-10-mikey-jones-swimming-coach-u13

Also very refreshing was to hear what Mikey said as he concluded his remarks: ‘And make sure you have fun!’ I don’t know how much ‘fun’ Robert the Bruce’s spider was having – or indeed the English armies that then faced the Scots at Bannockburn – but it is evident that if we can persevere and keep trying our best whilst wearing a smile and seeking to enjoy life responsibly to the full, we won’t go far wrong.

Alastair Reid (Headmaster)

We tweet from @BallardSchool

Ballard School is a non-selective, private co-educational school in New Milton, Hampshire (on the Dorset/Hampshire border), providing an outstanding level of education for nursery to GCSE. With small class sizes and proven academic excellence, we strive to nurture the academic potential of all students. Learn more about our academic programmes, pastoral care, facilities and school ethos by visiting our website or by requesting a prospectus here

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