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Finding Your Passion and Making It Happen

17 May 2017

Last week saw the visit to school of three cast members from the hugely successful Broadway and West End show, 'Wicked'. They ran workshops for many of our students, teaching about voice projection, choreography and characterization. But perhaps the most striking lessons of all were those they had to share about their professional journey.

  • Wicked
  • Wicked
  • Wicked

From what to do if they fell over on stage, forgot their lines or missed their cue, to what will happen when this show run ends and what inspires them to keep going through both rewarding and challenging times, they were able to make vividly real the winding journey from finding their passion to making it happen.

Over the past few weeks I have been speaking with each secondary year group at their assemblies on a similar theme: finding their passion and, through deliberate practice, making it happen. I suppose one thing that the passage of time teaches you is that life is very rarely a straight path from A to B. If only we could all just follow the yellow brick road to discover the wizard! However, events conspire to misdirect or impede our easy travel and along the way we often pick up knocks and setbacks, which were neatly explained in theatrical form in Wicked’s clever prequel to the classic Wizard of Oz story. Life often leads us to lose courage, act without wisdom or feel broken hearted and, as our visiting cast members were able to attest to, these moments can often lead to us losing sight of our dream. 

We are in the middle of ‘exam season’, when many of our students have the ‘opportunity’ to demonstrate their retention of knowledge and skills, in a competitive global ranking of ability. However, whilst their journey to this point will have required great resilience, determination and much deliberate practice, the exams themselves will not actually test these qualities. It is quite possible that a gifted child with a charmed life could attain exactly the same grade in these exams as a child that has had a much more arduous journey. Their grade will not, however, tell anyone anything about their very different journeys and will not indicate the extra skills that one of them has had to acquire.

Maybe, like me, there have been times in your life when you wish a magic wand could be waved over your life by a good fairy, or that a benevolent wizard would just solve your problems. Certainly I remember those nervous few moments before an exam invigilator said, “You may turn over your papers now,” and how I would wish that the questions would magically align with the preparation I had done. However, the real life version, where we wrestle with less than perfect situations, where we keep going even though we feel downhearted, where we win hard won battles against the odds, equips us much better for the rest of our life journey. I suppose, if there is any metaphor that emerges from the Wizard of Oz and Wicked, it could be that the most important attitude in life is to keep stepping forward relentlessly to reach the wished for land.

Given how important the Performing Arts are to so many of our students in developing this confidence and attitude to life, we will shortly be creating a Performing Arts group of parents, in the same manner that we have a Sports group, so that we can meet to discuss and share ideas about school development in the Performing Arts. If you would like to be part of this please email my PA, Catherine Sharman to register your interest by the end of next week (26th May 2017).

As a footnote, might I remind you that I am meeting with my Principal’s Consultation Group soon and so if there are any strategic issues you would like them to discuss with me, please do let them know. The parents in this group are Sophia Luan, Lidia Colabona, Kate Logan, Valentina Marcon, Daisy Zhou, Catherine Lambert, Julia Steffens and Claudia Graf.

Dr Neil Hopkin, Principal