Superpowers

This year, we have aimed to deliver a consistent message across the Wellington Community, starting with assembly on Monday and finishing with the Master’s Voice at the end of the week. In this, my last communication as Master of Wellington College, I wish to thank you all for your engagement. It has been heartening, and fascinating, to receive emails from parents, especially where the ideas we have explored in College have struck a chord with changing attitudes in the workplace. It has been a pleasure to hear your thoughts on a variety of topics, from independent learning to the importance of teamwork. Thank you!

This morning, I delivered my last assembly address, and I wanted to share with you the message I delivered to students and staff:

Well, you’ve made it to the end of another academic year and the summer holiday is stretching before you.  Thank you for everything you have done over the last 10 months.

This is obviously my final assembly at Wellington, so it is an opportunity for me to say to all of you how much I have enjoyed working here and what an honour and a privilege it has been to be part of this wonderful school.

You are a genuinely remarkable group.  You are talented, committed and enthusiastic.  Yes, there are ups and down – the odd poor decision here and there – but that is all part of being human.   The most important thing is that, when you do make a mistake, when you act in a way that perhaps feels out of character, a way that doesn’t truly represent you as a person, you pause: you reflect, you learn and you grow.  You accept responsibility and seek, where necessary, to make amends.  To err is indeed to be human, but there is no excuse for not seeking to be a better person when things do go awry.

You know that I have mentioned many times the importance of small interactions, the importance of being positive to those around you.  Sometimes we forget the power we have; we forget how easily we can have an impact – positive and negative – on other people’s lives. It is an extraordinary power we possess.

In fact, I would go so far as to say that it’s a superpower.

Like all superpowers, it must be used wisely and, in this, my last assembly, I wanted to set out some advice to impart to you – call it an ultimate guide: ‘How to Harness your Superpower for Good’. So, I began to write a list and, on my list, were such statements as, “Don’t waste time hating others or seeking revenge”, “Be Kind”, and “Don’t try to raise your own self-esteem by putting others down”. Then there were words like “purpose”, “commitment” and “dedication”. And then I remembered a poster that used to hang in my office, a poster that I looked at every day, a poster that I gave as a gift to my godson at his christening in the hope that, as he grew to discover his superpower, he would be guided by its message.

You see, you don’t need to be superhuman to have a superpower. You just need to be human. But, like those heroes from the Marvel universe, I hope you will seek to use your superpower for good.  If in doubt, just remember the seven words that appeared on that poster:

WORK HARD
&
BE NICE
TO PEOPLE

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