Every year, I do a big talk at open day, and I tell people that Woodhouse is a special place. And I say that it is special because our students are special. And I truly believe that. Woodhouse students are kind and courteous and well-meaning and a pleasure to be with.
Sometimes I look around the world and despair. There is so much madness, intolerance, violence against people who have different beliefs, so many people who are incapable of seeing things from someone else’s point of view.
But then I think of the young people at Woodhouse, such a diverse community, where tolerance and respect are the rule, where people can be themselves without apology or fear. At Woodhouse, people look out for each other, and they care; at Woodhouse, students volunteer to take part and to help out. And I think, perhaps, there is hope for the world.
Now you are about to leave us and go out into the big world. Remember us and come back and see us. Join our alumni and keep the connection. Once a Woodhouse student, always a Woodhouse student!
Most of you will go on to university. It is quite a scary thing to start again at university, to make new friends and get used to a new environment where you are living independently. I hope that your experience here will help you, that you will feel prepared for that fresh start. Be confident and take advantage of opportunities. Don’t be afraid to take risks and live the life you want to live. Walk tall – you’re a Woodhouse student!
And some of you will be joining the world of work, as a gap year or permanently. That’s a big step. Be happy in your work – you will spend a large proportion of your adult life at work, so it is important to be fulfilled and challenged. Most jobs provide enough interest and satisfaction if you have the right attitude, but be prepared to move on if it doesn’t.
Finally, remember your friends and stay in touch with them. Sometimes friendships need a bit of work if they are to survive and thrive. Don’t neglect old friends just because you make new ones. Friends and relationships are actually the most important things in life.
Keep in touch. We like ex-Woodies to let us know on twitter and facebook how they are doing. Send us pictures of your graduation, wedding and babies!