It will not have escaped the attention of many that next week sees the annual musical production, West Side Story. I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the impact such productions have on the all-round education of young people, specifically helping to build their self-confidence, teamwork and an understanding of how to develop oneself whilst taking risks. I meet many employers in my role, and one question I always ask is: what are the qualities you are looking for in your next recruit to your business? The answer invariably focuses on core skills – life skills, if you prefer – over and above levels of knowledge acquisition. The most common responses are that successful candidates need to show confidence, an ability to work collaboratively and a genuine commitment to the values and ethos of the business. The one thing no one has ever mentioned to me when I asked this question? Examination results.
Of course, the pursuit of academic goals is not to be underestimated. Great results facilitate access to the world’s leading universities, and reflect an ability to learn, to process information and (crucially) to thrive under the pressure of examinations, but they are no guarantee of a successful career. I am always delighted to hear of all the great university offers our pupils in Year 13 have attracted, but equally I am aware that this stage is just that – one step in the next phase of their lives. They need to leave us armed with more than just a graduation certificate and outstanding results; they need to be ready for the world around them. In this sense, an education which promotes wider ways of learning for young people, encompassing an understanding of the ‘self’ as well as the books that they read, is essential in arming our graduates for a world beyond Wellington.
I mentioned Yural Harari’s book 21 Lessons for the 21st Century last week, and he too shares this sense that learners need to develop an awareness of who they really are – instead of who social media and peer pressure tell them they should be. “To succeed at such a daunting task, you will need to work very hard at getting to know your operating system better—to know what you are and what you want from life. This is, of course, the oldest advice in the book: know thyself. For thousands of years philosophers and prophets have urged people to know themselves. But this advice was never more urgent than in the twenty-first century, because unlike in the days of Laozi or Socrates, now you have serious competition. Coca-Cola, Amazon, Baidu, and the government are all racing to hack you. Not your smartphone, not your computer, and not your bank account; they are in a race to hack you and your organic operating system. You might have heard that we are living in the era of hacking computers, but that’s not even half the truth. In fact, we are living in the era of hacking humans.”
This is a daunting prospect for parents, teachers and pupils alike. It shifts the emphasis away from a traditional exam-focused education to one which accommodates a more holistic approach. Preparing our young people for the future lies at the heart of the education here at Wellington. It is in that context that we continue to pursue challenging projects like West Side Story and the Interim art exhibition [see below]. As you prepare to come and share in these exhilarating events, please reflect a little on the journey these pupils have been on to reach this point. They will, I am sure, surprise and delight you with the quality of their work and performances, but at the heart of it all lies a self-confidence and a willingness to challenge themselves that will help to set these young people apart from the herd once they move on from school.
MEET THE MASTER AND BURSAR
Duke of York’s Room
Thursday 21st March
This week, the Meet the Master and Bursar slot is aimed at parents of pupils in all year groups. If you would like to attend, please confirm via email with Ms. Emma Shi (email@example.com) by Wednesday 20th March.
FROM THE HEAD OF ART
Black Box Foyer
This week’s Interim Exhibition in the Black Box Foyer is a snapshot into the artwork currently being made by Art students from all year groups in the Senior School. As we find ourselves in the midst of a busy build-up to the exam season, it is an excellent chance to take a moment and reflect on the vast imagination, skill and ability of our students. To coincide with the school’s production of West Side Story, the exhibition will be ready to view from the opening night so please join us in celebrating the work of Wellington’s fine young artists.
FROM MS CHAPMAN
Charity Sleepover Review
The E+ charity sleepover took place a couple of weeks ago and the event was a huge success. Hosting over 60 pupils, it was a very busy and exciting evening for all involved. A huge thanks goes out to all teachers who helped and stayed the night, especially Miss Millar, Owen and Thomas. We are pleased to announce that the event raised nearly 4000 RMB for charity, with additional thanks due to the Scout team who worked throughout the evening cooking, then donating all of their proceeds to the charity.
Thoughts from Year 11 Leo (one of the organisers):
“The E+ charity sleepover was a really meaningful experience. After that night, I think we all had an idea of what it was like to sleep in such horrible conditions — the hard mattresses, the cold night air, it was really eye opening. This made us aware of the conditions that children living in poverty, some of whom are younger than us, live in every day and I think we all are thankful for the fact that we have comfy beds and blankets to snuggle in. In addition to be an eye-opener, I believe most of us enjoyed the night together, participating in many fun and student-led activities such as a scavenger hunt with self-made riddles and many games of charades. All in all, it was a very fun and meaningful experience and if possible, I would definitely host it again next year!”
FROM MRS MARKOVIC
The Costumes and Accessories ASA
All our eyes are on the eagerly expected musical. Beside wonderfully talented students on stage, please save some attention for equally talented students beside the stage. The Costumes and Accessories ASA, as well as musical prop-making, gathered so many hard-working young people to make your musical experience even more stunning. Costumes for the main roles of Maria and Anita, cuffs for the Shark gang, corsages for dancing actresses, clothes on the washing line scenography as well as bridal suit, textile decorations for the stage and much more are done by our stunning students, both from Junior and Senior School. Enjoy the show and remember to give them an extra round of applause as well. Let’s play Mambo!