The View From My Study – 3rd February

At about 4.45pm tomorrow afternoon, I shall have a dilemma. Despite my Welsh name (Gareth Edwards was a hero in my family), I am an England rugby supporter so as the match against Scotland kicks off at Twickenham, I ought to be cheering for the red roses. However, my nephew, Huw Jones, has been selected for the men in blue, and now I am unsure of who to cheer. Having split loyalties is a strange feeling.

Huw’s story is an interesting one and a great lesson to all children and parents who are in a hurry for success. Though always good, he was not the star of his school teams; his lack of size until the age of 17 was both a hindrance and a help – he did not get recognised by county or regional selectors and it forced him to work hard on his skills instead of relying on his size; he did not specialise in a sport too early, he simply played all sports for the sheer enjoyment. And when he did leave school and was faced with the choice between a rugby academy and a gap year abroad, he took the option which would fulfil his life in a more rounded way. He went to work in a school in Cape Town, stayed for university, was spotted by the province and very quickly turned professional for the Stormers. The rest, as they say, is history. But it just goes to show that success is around the corner for anyone who shows application, honesty, and patience. And gets a bit of luck from the bounce of the ball!

Some children do flourish early, of course, and I am delighted to say that fifteen scholarships have been awarded by senior schools to pupils in the 6th Form. (Please note we are still awaiting news on several assessments and the academic scholarships take place later this term). This is an impressive haul and testament to the talent and commitment of many children in the cohort, as well as to the hard work and support of the teachers.

However, I would like to emphasise one thing that I so often say to the children: one does not need to have a ‘scholarship’ to be successful, nor by having that label does it guarantee success. It is important to acknowledge and celebrate the achievement when it arrives and so congratulations to the fifteen scholarship recipients, but there are many people who have been successful who never got close to an award when they were young. Success will come to us all at different times and in different ways; we just need to be patient and seize the opportunities when they appear.

Gareth Jones, Headmaster

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