This week at Garnsey Assembly I felt a need to speak to the students regarding the value of education and the opportunities that they are presented with by attending Gippsland Grammar.
Recently I spent some time travelling with my family through Europe. This was a great opportunity for us to travel as a family and enjoy seeing some of Europe’s most iconic sites. We had great fun trying to navigate across a foreign country on the wrong side of the road and simply trying to order food and pay in a foreign language, speaking to people who don’t know any English at all. Whilst we saw many things and learnt many facts, it was the experience that I loved the most. It made me think about education and what education means to me and means to you, the students of Gippsland Grammar. You all come to School every day because your parents make you and they want you to be successful in life, but what is the real value of education to you? What does it really mean to you to develop yourself as a person through your education?
I remember when Bishop Mannaseh was visiting our School from Rwanda and he spoke to Ms Henry’s Global Politics class and said to them …‘You have everything you need to be successful. There is no excuse for not making the most of your education at this School. Many students in Rwanda are unable to have an education as their parents cannot afford to send them to school, yet they value education as much as any students I have ever seen. And they would give anything to have the opportunities that you have.’
At that time, I immediately thought of the words of Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani Nobel peace prizewinner who was shot in the head while a young teenager and survived. She was shot for advocating the importance of education to everyone, in particular, girls. When we were travelling, I saw a documentary about her life and it featured some of her famous quotes that many of you may have heard before.
“One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.”
“When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.”
It is through education that you can change the world, it is through education that you can dream and develop the thinking skills required to bring those dreams to reality. It is through education that we as a country can continue to grow and prosper.
Without education we are nothing. We are stuck doing the same things in the same way.
Your education is a gift, a gift that would be treasured by most of the children in our world. Do you value that gift? Do you take it for granted? Would you give that gift away because you couldn’t be bothered or you don’t want to make an effort? Would you give that gift away because you would prefer to spend your time doing something that is fruitless and leads to nothing? Would you give that gift away because you would prefer to take an easier option?
Whether you are an A+ student or someone who has to work hard just to get by, your education is your key to your future, not just your career or access to money, it is the key to determining the adult that you wish to become. An informed, rational, critical thinker who can make sense of the world and contribute towards making the world a better place. A global citizen who is comfortable in any culture relating to people from every culture. An innovator who can invent and create the future and will lead our country as it continues to be a country of innovators and problem solvers.
You have everything you need to become a great contributor to our country. Value what you have, make the most of your education and work hard to overcome difficulties, but don’t ever, ever give up. Turn up each and every day and learn.