The start of the school year is always a busy and somewhat overwhelmingly exciting time. There is generally a buzz in the air. The marketing gurus for the big companies invest a considerable amount of time and effort into whipping up a buying frenzy around the ‘essentials for school’. Kids lament the end of their holidays, whilst secretly being a little excited about the year ahead and usually looking forward to catching up with friends.
Teachers are well into their preparations for the year ahead. I start getting excited about starting the school year. This year, despite the shadow of COVID-19, we have started the year with a great Commencement Assembly to induct our new student leaders and share the School theme for the year. We also welcomed 138 new students from Reception to Year 12, and a further 40 Early Learning students, into the Westminster community. This is a great enrolment intake especially considering COVID-19.
In 2021, our School theme is to live with purpose. If we know why we are doing things and we live with intent, we develop a sense of contentment and happiness. Perhaps this is why there is a buzz around students and teachers alike as a sense of purpose is attached to the start of the school year. Suddenly, there is a reason for the new year and we find this energising and challenging.
Through numerous studies, having a sense of purpose has been shown to help both our physical and mental health, as well as contribute to our wellbeing and productivity. Studies in the USA have shown that only one in five adolescents and one in three young adults have identified their purpose. Whilst not surprising, it is a little confronting for students when they are being asked to live with purpose. Fortunately, we can all live with purpose if we define it the right way. If we make our purpose to do the best we can in our endeavours, we have purpose. Or, perhaps, if we make our purpose to help others as much as we can, we are again living with purpose.
As we move into 2021, we have an important year to celebrate as the School celebrates 60 years. Let’s all challenge ourselves to live with purpose throughout this year. Let’s challenge ourselves to try new things, particularly if they help others. The new souvenir edition of Westminster News (Summer 2021), with its focus on Celebrating 60 years, is in the process of being distributed. Among many wonderful features, it tells the story behind Westminster and the Founders of the School. Some 60 years ago, they showed what was possible when committing to their dream, their vision, their purpose. They challenged themselves to help others and ask others for help, to found and guide our School, and do all of this by living intently with purpose. And for their efforts and dedication to their purpose, we are forever grateful.