2023 Head Student Prize-Giving & Valedictory Address
Delivered by Suzannah Whall
Good Morning School, special guests, staff and most importantly matrics!
This is really exciting!
I am really grateful I have this opportunity to speak. It gives me the chance to say goodbye properly and to have closure which is not always the case in life and so for that I am very grateful.
I’d like to say thank you to all the staff at Herschel. Thank you to the sports and music staff that work tirelessly to help us pursue our passions or just help outlet off some steam.
Thank you to the cleaning staff for always, always ensuring our entire school is spotless, we truly are lucky! Thank you to the ground staff for this campus, wow it truly brings me goosebumps when I walk around campus!
Thank you to the academic staff, wow! I know most times we don’t show it but we appreciate you. You challenge us, support us and you are a lot of the reason we are here today and will also be the reason we will have some future doctors, journalists, and lawyers sitting right here! Thank you for pushing through Hamlet and Fiela one last time!
Thank you to the school! Thank you for maybe being just slightly more quiet when walking past the Mary Jagger during mocks. Thank you for getting involved and buying into what us as matrics had to bring to the table and just supporting us through our year!
Thank you to the parents and guardians. I mean in some way you have had to go through high school twice because of us! So, thank you for dropping something off when we forgot it, hearing us complain about something at school and believing in us even when we didn’t ourselves!
Lastly, thank you to the matrics you guys are awesome! Now I don’t know if you all know but before our last first day of school on Tuesday our grade had a grade sleepover and it’s not everyday you see a grade that willing choses to spend more time together and this just perfectly encapsulates what our grade is about. We manage to be one group of people and yet all be our own individual selves.
This grade is a lot of the reason I’m still at Herschel.
Now let me explain:
Coming into Herschel I didn’t know one person and so naturally in the beginning it was really difficult for me so much so that by term 3 I said to my parents I can’t do this anymore as I was just too unhappy. They thought it would be best for me to move schools and so I was set to leave at the end of term three of grade 8.
In the last couple weeks of that term, we had one of those sessions with HSU, I’m sure you’re all familiar with, and we were doing a simple activity in groups of three. I was with Salma and Jada and all you had to do was say what you appreciate about the other person. Now as the saying goes, “You don’t remember what they said but you remember how they made you feel,” and that perfectly encapsulates my experience. I couldn’t tell you what they said to me but I just remember feeling appreciated and seen.
Now on that same day, I was sent a message by a friend and it was completely random saying something along the lines of “If you ever need anything I’m here and, I know it must be difficult for you being the only one from your primary school but I’m always here for you.”
And then for the cherry on top, with the power of The Jackson 5 and ‘I Want You Back’ with Jagger’s inter-house singing I felt a part of something special. So there was no way I could leave Herschel.
And this is why I’ve been preaching kindness this entire year. It’s because it was those small acts of kindness that changed my life and allowed me to stay at this school and so I hope just maybe a small act of kindness could lead to another student staying at this school because it truly is a special place filled with special people!
I sure am very glad I didn’t leave, or I wouldn’t have all these lovely things I can say I’m going to miss:
I will miss the Herschel music department but especially the matric music class, I would pay to listen to you guys!
I’ll miss Mr Sopam explaining to our class why he is right, and the traffic department is wrong with a diagram and a video to support as evidence.
I’ll miss Tannie Beth.
I’ll miss our AP maths class giving Mr Stegmann goose-pimples when we tell him we have the integration feeling.
I’ll miss Jess Miller and all her questions. Jess never, ever, stop asking questions!
I’ll miss Ms East and her sporadic laughter in assembly.
Lastly, I’ll miss the effortlessness it requires to see these people. All I have to do is come to school and I get to see all my friends. It’s so incredibly easy. So for those who are staying appreciate it!
And so I’ll end with a quote from the legend himself Michael Scott:
“I wish there was a way to know you were in the good old days before you actually left them”
This is the way, I’m telling you right now, we’re in the good old days so appreciate them, enjoy them and live them.
We are assembled here in love, We are united, we care for one another. The greatest lesson of all is the one That teaches us to live together, together.
Refrain: Everyone’s a spark and in the night Together we make a light, a fire burning bright Ad Dei Gloriam; Inkosi mayibongwe: To the glory of our God: this is what we believe.
In times of trouble we support Our fellows; we are taught to be there for our friends. And all around us, there will be That special unity, that binds us all together.
If we come back after many years, We will think fondly of the things that we remember, And the friends that we made then, These will be friends forever, forever.