First Assembly 0405
Good morning and welcome to the start of the 2004 – 2005 school year. I hope everyone had a wonderful summer. This weekend was glorious. In fact, the last two weekends have been best of the summer. I hope that the good weather continues – I’m sure that the soccer coaches and the players at the tryouts would concur.
I’m pleased to have our entire school together to celebrate the beginning of this academic year, and to have a chance to introduce some new people that have joined us over the summer.
I’ll name them, and ask them to wave at you from where they are standing.
Ms. Beukeboom, Upper School Geography
Ms. Cunningham, Grade 5, Core
Ms. Davies, Art & Resource Centre Assistant
Ms. Efimov, Middle School English and History
Ms. Gordon, Development Coordinator
Ms. Hunwicks, Library Technician
Ms. Latimer-Kim, Lower and Middle School Drama
Ms. Law, Part-time Receptionist
Mr. Lowndes, Deputy Headmaster/Head of Upper School
Ms. Luxemburger, Middle School French
Ms. MacMillan Student Billing Coordinator
Ms. Maksimovska, Upper School English, Social Sciences and Humanities
Ms. McIver, Administrative Assistant: Admissions
Mr. Murphy, Junior LAN Technician
Mr. Pierson, Director of Global Outreach and Student programmes
Mr. Stanley, Head of Facilities
Mr. Tessaro, Upper School Math
Mr. Volpe, Middle School Music
I would also like to acknowledge and welcome the newboys to Crescent. Thank you for joining us. We are honoured to have you at Crescent. We hope to exceed you expectations of a school. I can make one promise with certainty: the friends you make here will be your friends for life.
The greatest number of newboys, of course, is at the Grade 3 level, and is our tradition, I would ask them to stand, turn around to face the student body, and receive the welcome they so richly deserve. Ladies and gentlemen, the class of 2014.
As Canadians, we’ve had an eventful summer. Our Canadian Olympians had mixed success. The rowers were terrific, but our hearts broke when Perdita Felicien hit the hurdle and went down. Mike Weir gave us a great run at the Canadian Open on the weekend and almost pulled it off – even with the weight of 30 million Canadians on his shoulders. And we are all waiting for the final game of the World Cup of hockey tomorrow night when our best players face off against the best Finland can muster. I can’t wait for the drop of the puck and the end of the game when Mario Lemieux hoists the trophy high in the air in victory.
We can see the world through our Canadian eyes – but we should also strive to view it as a world citizen. The view is not so rosy. A few days ago we could observe the anniversary the nightmare of September 11th. And more recently, at a school in Russia, in a gymnasium not far removed in size and structure from the one in which we are sitting here today – on the first day of school – terror struck again. The school siege left more than 335 dead – about half of them children. The most defenseless members of society were the targets during their first day of school.
Russians have always said that their children are their honored citizens. That these innocents were the ones knowingly targeted is something beyond belief for any Russian citizen – and by any thinking, feeling, world citizen.
We should honour those children, and grieve with those who lost their children. Please stand to observe a minute of silence.
So here we are at the beginning of a new year. In our minds and imaginations we have mixed the finest attributes of human endeavor with some of the basest qualities. Being human is complex. We are an amalgam of many impulses and influences. We are faced with choices each and every day of our lives, ethical decisions that can make huge differences in our lives and the lives of others.
Ethical issues aren’t easy. They cause us to lose sleep. What do I do if my friend asks me to do something I know is wrong? What is wrong? What is right?
Religions around the world have struggled with these ethical issues throughout the ages. To date, they haven’t come up with a Frequently Asked Questions Crib Sheet. Instead, they seem to have devised a guiding principle for us to study that is based on a single premise. In a phrase: respect human life.
But what does that look like in a school, specifically Crescent School?
Respect looks and feels a lot like caring and kindness. Simple things like being pleasant to one another, speaking honestly but thoughtfully to one another, both in and out of the class – not only to your teachers but to your peers. It’s the little things like opening doors, saying please and thank you, by speaking respectfully, by standing when a guest enters the assembly hall and even your classroom. By simply being the best person you can be. It’s not that simple. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it – and as you can see, they’re not.
Aristotle said that we must practice virtue, just like anything else.
So this year, let’s honestly practice respect. Let’s strive to be kind to one another, not because I told you we should do so, but because, as world citizens and Crescent citizens, we know that this is the way the world can and should work.
We have choices. Let us make those that give us dignity and make us stronger as human beings.