Kelsey Scott

Assembly Speech

Speech made at Assembly by GHS's Head Boy in 2015, Kelsey Scott

The meaning of Aspire is to direct ones hopes or ambitions towards achieving something. What a great theme for 2016. For those younger students who don’t know me, my name is Kelsey Scott and I am an ex Geraldine High School student and am a proud one at that. I feel so grateful for being at this school right from Year 7, making great relationships with staff and students. I am now studying Landscape Architecture at Lincoln University and although it’s a very different environment, I’m having a great time. I wanted to talk today about how things have been for me leading up to today, what the younger students should be thinking about early on and what type of things the senior students can start doing to prepare for whatever it is you do after school.

For me school was definitely full of ups and downs. I had some very low points but also some awesome highlights. I won’t go into detail but I will tell you some of the ways I overcame obstacles and made sure I maintained involvement and a fun factor. Starting out as a junior I made sure I put my name down for anything and everything including things like House events and sports games run by seniors. I always maintained an element of optimism while I was young which has slowly increased and developed to where I am now. I would always tell myself I could achieve things which seemed impossible, play harder beats on my drums which I knew I was incapable of at the time and always accept challenges however high my chance of failure was. But what these moments of failure and frustrations did was make the achieving of my goals and aspirations well worth the work and effort. Whilst challenging myself with these tasks the other major influence I needed was to keep positive. Always having a positive attitude and seeing the bright side of situations makes going through school a great experience leaving little obstacles to knock you down. The key to positivity is realising what the lowest point of your life was and setting that as a baseline for the worst that could happen and anything that sits above that baseline you know you can handle. It’s a combination of these characteristics that I came to learn and develop over time through personal experiences that I can say were not a single bit enjoyable but the positive point to be taken from such negative times was that I was able to develop my skills to deal with easier situations without a hiccup. So for everyone here today, I challenge you to try and take everyday life with a more optimistic view, try everything and anything and definitely apply positivity to all that you do. It’s not a click of a finger decision to be positive about all that you do but it is your choice to set a goal to start developing a more positive attitude and I assure you that it makes dealing with the everyday struggles so much easier. And If you start to think optimistically early on, I know that you will succeed through your school life. This ties in hugely with this terms value of responsibility. Because it is the choices that only you can make about your attitude towards school and life that will shape the great people you will all turn out to be.

The next thing I wanted to cover was what all the juniors in the room should begin to think about. As a Year 7, 8, 9 and 10 I know that school just seems to tick along and at times feels like it’s pointless in comparison to the path you envisage yourself taking. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s hard but I assure you at the end of the day it’s the building up of vital knowledge, skills and relationships that are most important in the early stages of your lives. I know that sometimes you don’t have an option in the classes you take or the timetable you get but the point of being a junior and being pushed to try all the different courses is so that you get exposed to a variety of courses that you’ll walk into and possibly think ‘oh wow this is actually a lot cooler than I thought it was'. We all know that as a junior you don’t really know what occupation it is you want to have after school but this variety of courses on offer might just sway you into something you never even imagined you’d enjoy. I myself was a perfect example of this. I never considered myself good at drawing or good at art and even to date I’m not an amazing drawer and have so much to learn but I keep an open mind and every day learn new things that I can apply to my style improving it. That’s when Year 11 came and I thought I should try graphics again after dropping it in Year 9 & 10 and give myself a challenge along with the fact not too much else interested me and look where I’ve ended up. Taking Landscape Architecture which was my own choice. This is why it’s so important to keep an open mind about every class you are in as you never know where you might end up. Persevering is key. As the meaning states, ‘maintain a purpose in spite of difficulty, obstacles or discouragement’. Another very good note to mention is that Geraldine high school has really great teachers. After meeting so many people from up and down the country from big and small schools I know that you are lucky to have such great support from your teachers who really are great at what they teach. They have the knowledge and best of all they are approachable and that is a lot more than what can be said from many other schools. So I can’t express enough to take advantage of these bonuses and offerings that you have here and start thinking about where you’d like to be coming into senior school. Also talk to your teachers and vertical forms about what you’d like to do and they can guide you in the right direction and help you along the way. Last thing to note here is make an appointment to see them by talking to them in class or emailing because the teachers have very busy schedules and it’s not always easy to drop everything at certain times so remember to respect that.

Lastly, time for the seniors to switch on. As you start to approach the end of the year there are a few things you’ll want to make sure you’ve got sorted out. Firstly, if your heading to Uni, make sure that you have put in your applications well in time and I urge every one of you to apply for as many scholarships as you can. There is no reason as to why you shouldn’t apply. Not everyone gets one but you have to try to have a chance and that’s the most important thing. This is your responsibility not anyone else’s and I know as a fact that certain Universities do give halls positions and positions of study to those who apply first and earliest as long as you meet the criteria and have fully filled out your applications. And I will say again it is your responsibility to do so. That is a good reason as to why this term focuses on responsibility because it is around this time that the Unis open applications up to everyone. For those who aren’t moving on to further study, really make sure that you have a job in the pipeline or a path you know to take such as an apprenticeship as it’s a very hard task trying to find work once the end of the year comes if you didn’t organise early. Secondly, start mentally preparing. Uni is an entirely different ball game. No longer do you have the help right there when you need it. It takes some adjusting but you need to know that it’s not so easy anymore to just walk up to a lecturer or tutor and get help as there are some very strict guidelines to office hours and help times unless you make an appointment. Another thing to prepare for is to know that assignments are much broader than school assessments. At school, teachers are marking 30-40 assessments max at a time. At Uni, it can be upwards of hundreds so they are much more open to a very opinionated argument that is of significance, not of similar work to others. And a thing to note about assignments is don’t be one of those people who are up till 12 or 1 in the morning because it’s not healthy and can quickly turn into a habit which can start putting you off going to class. It’s also so much better to get on top of your work because I know that out of this whole year I’ve only had three nights total where I’ve had to stay up to work and that’s because I try my best to manage my time efficiently. Again this falls down to your responsibility of managing how you work and if you enjoy sleep like I do you’ll want to make it a goal. But the third and final point I wish to say is enjoy yourself with whatever you do. If you’re working, enjoying getting into the world and earning money. Take every day to your potential and strive to be the best employee for the company and you will be rewarded. If you’re going to Uni also enjoy yourself and get the most out of the free time between classes by getting out with mates and enjoy that freedom even if it means heading up the slopes on a Monday morning after a good weekend snow, which of course I have never done. I can tell you it’s a great feeling starting to become independent.

So to sum up what I’ve talked about. You guys are responsible for your actions and if you face every day with optimism, positivity and aspire to be the best in yourself and around others you are set up to lead a great life and really enjoy and get the most out of school. As you grow older I challenge you to develop these skills and remind yourself of them every so often to keep track of who you aspire to be. Lastly enjoy everything you do and take every opportunity you can however big or small. I hope I’ve said something that can relate to everyone in at least one way or another but thank you for listening and make sure you enjoy every day to its potential.

Kelsey Scott