Good morning to Mr Viljoen, teachers and staff members, parents and to my fellow Northwood Squires and Knights. I know that I speak on behalf of all the boys here when I say that we are extremely proud and honoured to be a part of such a prestigious event. And congratulations to all of us for making it here – we were not invited to this tea randomly or by pure luck. If you are attending this tea as a learner, it is because of an excellent academic performance, which can only be the result of hard work and serious commitment. To all the parents, both those present and those who could not be with us this morning, equal commendation is in order. While I know that ultimately it is us boys who write the tests and exams, we would never be able to achieve the way we do without the support and encouragement of our parents, so thank you and congratulations for all the hard work that you have put in as parents to support your sons and help them reach their full potential. To our wonderful teachers, thank you so much for absolutely everything that you do for us. We truly could not achieve what we do without your patience, commitment, wisdom and inspiration, and I know that each and every one of us boys here this morning is beyond grateful for the positive impact that you have had on our lives. And to Mr. Viljoen, thank you for starting this wonderful new tradition in our school and for recognizing our achievements in the classroom.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” This statement by Aristotle can clearly be seen on posters around our school, but I wonder how many of us actually take the time to consider its meaning. If we think of why we are gathered here this morning, that is all the proof you need. Parents, educators, and most especially the boys will know that academic performance is achieved through many hours of hard work – it truly does become a habit. Achieving consistently at our highest academic standard is an accumulation of lots hard graft and paying attention to the small details – it is not one big push that anyone can pull off at the last minute, but rather a long haul that requires both determination and willpower. I would encourage all of us to keep up this habit, because as habits go, this is one of the better ones. I mean, nobody likes that guy that just doesn’t stop tapping his foot in class.
To the matrics, we are nearly there. Finals are just around the corner, and then we have vac work to look forward to – I’m only joking of course, we all know that Rage wouldn’t happen without us there. I’d just like to say that it has been a fantastic journey with you gents, I will always remember the past 5 years with you as a time of great friendship, solidarity, and a fair amount of shared homework. Good luck for whatever next year and your futures may bring – I have no doubt that you will all experience happiness and success on whatever path you choose.
To the grade 8’s, 9’s, 10’s and 11’s, you’ve got a way to go yet, but I can promise you that if you continue to hold yourselves to the high standards that you must already have set, you will continue to perform at your academic peaks and will undoubtedly show those exams who’s boss. You guys are the future of Northwood, and I urge you to continue to strive for greatness as you carry on your journey through this fantastic institution. I speak on behalf of the 2018 matrics in saying that we are very proud of all of you, and are confident that we are leaving the school’s academic reputation in good hands. Good luck trying to beat our results this year though. Jokes aside, I have no doubt that you boys will be able to lift the school to new heights with the help of the teachers and management team, and I look forward to watching the school grow as a proud old boy.
We come to school not to learn, but to be educated. Many adults, teachers and parents, will stress to schoolchildren the importance of being “educated,” as opposed to merely accumulating knowledge. And while becoming more knowledgeable is definitely a part of attending the great school that is Northwood, I feel that the most valuable things that I have gained in my time here were the lessons in character and growth as a human being. I feel confident to leave this school at the end of the year, knowing that I have been both academically and psychologically prepared to take on any challenges that I may face in the big-bad-world outside of those school gates, and that is something that not only excellent teachers, but an all-round high-quality school can provide.
Boys, we are so lucky to have been given the opportunity to attend this school. Please don’t ever take that for granted. And once again, congratulations on your achievements – you guys are all legends.
Deputy Head Prefect – Academics