20 Mar 2020

Head’s Address to Upper Sixth 20th March 2020


Alex Hems: Address to the Upper Sixth 20 March 2020

"Girls I know that this has been a real roller coaster of a week for you all. I have been so impressed by your stoicism and the patience and good humour with which you have managed your way through the last few days.

We really feel for you – you have worked so hard, and now you may well feel frustrated at not having the chance to prove yourselves in the exam hall. Your hard work will not be wasted, however, as your projects, dissertations and folios are all going to count for you. We will be able to support you over the next few days to get those finished to the very best of your ability and to help you produce really robust evidence to support estimated grades.

We have some very good plans for you for next term too – we will be in touch with you with more details soon but we have ideas which we think you will find helpful and very constructive, for activities and preparation that we can lead , which will help to set you up well for the next stage of your lives.

I am committed to giving you a Speech Day. It may not be in June, but possibly in late August before university terms start or perhaps at Christmas. We do want to be able to give you your moment on the platform, which you so richly deserve.

St George’s will be here for you throughout your lives. In uncertain times like these the networks, both professional and personal that we create around us will be tremendously important, and we have that available for you through the Foundation Office.

These events will affect us all in different ways, but I do not doubt they will have a profound effect on society. What I have seen in recent days, however, is just how much of the very best, challenging times can bring out in us. Some things will definitely change in the next few weeks and months, but people remain the same. We need communities around us, we need kindness and love and we need to smile.

Keep yourselves healthy, in mind and body over the coming weeks. In times when we are going to be physically more distant from each other emotional support becomes all the more important. Social media will help us all to stay in touch, but let’s make sure we use it positively. Be sensible about the amount of news and notifications that you have coming at you. Give yourself some time and space away from all of that every day. Keep some balance in your day – make sure that you get outside, enjoy this spring sunshine as well and use these opportunities to keep fit and practise other skills that you do not usually have the time for.

Remember that we are defined not by what happens to us, but by how we react to life events. When extraordinary times are upon us, our society needs people to rise to the challenge in the finest way that they can. We know that you all have it in you to be extraordinary people, and I have every confidence that your generation will meet this challenge positively."

Mrs Alex Hems MA Oxon
Head, St George's School for Girls, Edinburgh

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