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Waikato Diocesan School for Girls Leavers' Service 2016

As the onset of public examinations looms, all our schools are very busy with prize-giving ceremonies and leavers' events.  With Waikato Diocesan School for Girls awaiting their new chaplain, Bishop Helen-Ann took the helm for the 2016 Leavers' service.  Inspired by a blog post written by Welsh triathlete, Non Stanford, Bishop HA talked about overcoming the the fear of not succeeding.  The reading that accompanied these words was Psalm 121.

"This is a significant day, and whether you are students or staff leaving, or indeed parents of girls leaving this is a day that perhaps you have anticipated for some time, perhaps looking forward to it, perhaps dreading its inevitability?  So wherever you are on the emotional spectrum, that’s ok.  Life is a marathon and not a sprint, and we are all at different points in our journeys.  But one thing is certain: you will always be connected to this school.  We were reminded of that so wonderfully on Tuesday with the presence of 50 old girls at our Founders’ Day service.  I’m pleased that Mrs Pacey (who is also leaving) has said that if I ever find myself in a tight spot (like literally wedged in a cave on Year 10 camp again) I can always call her for advice!

I left high school a quarter of a century ago (which sounds way more epic than 25 years!!), and when I was thinking about what I would say this morning, I wondered what would I have wanted to know when I 18?  All sorts of things of course, but I reflected:

What is the worst thing that you think could ever happen to you?

There are a million ways to answer this question, but one answer might be this: not succeeding.

We stand poised on the cusp of a new season of your journeys: leavers, families, friends, staff, new prefects, each of us in different ways prepares for something new to happen.  

And what’s the worst thing that could ever happen to you?  It’s not not succeeding (yes I know I’ve just used a double negative which is not good!).  Rather it’s stopping believing in yourself, and stopping realising that no matter what, you are never alone.

Like many of you here, back in August I kept an eye on our Olympians and Paralympians competing in Rio.  As usual there were many stories of triumph and success, but perhaps less so about those who didn’t quite make the medal podium.

But I recently came across an inspiring blog post by the Welsh triathlete Non Stanford.  She writes:

‘Just under 2 weeks ago I officially became an Olympian. Life-long ambition achieved. Precious memories that will stay with me for the remainder of my days...suddenly, you stumble out the other side, tired and bleary eyed and wonder if it did just happen or if it was all some weird dream.  Everything is so quiet and calm. You have time to sit on your sofa with a cup of tea and reflect. 

Fourth is the worst place to finish at an Olympic Games. 

We've all heard it. We've probably all said it. Remarked at that poor person who just missed out on a medal. But you never think it's going to be you in that situation. It never crossed my mind anyway. But I was fourth at the Olympic Games. 

I think it's human nature, or maybe a flaw, to never be satisfied. To always want more.  As an athlete it can be a strength and a weakness. 

The need to be better, to continue achieving, it's what gets you out of bed, it's what makes you push harder, push limits.  It also makes you vulnerable to the highs and lows of sport.  I wonder if I had held on for bronze, would I actually be satisfied?  Or would I be wondering what it feels like to be one or two steps higher?  I don't need to wonder; I already know the answer.

Onwards.  Always.’

As you prepare to leave this school, to whatever next adventure you undertake, always remember that each of you is amazing inspiring in different ways.  When things don’t work out as planned, that’s ok.  Never give up, and never lose hope.

The Psalmist writes: ‘The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.  The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.  The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time on and forevermore.’



Bishop Helen-Ann is pictured in the photo with the Dio Missions' Team just before the Leavers' service.

Story Published: 4th of November - 2016

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