2013 Awards Ceremony, Headmistress
Good evening and a warm welcome to our special and honoured guest, Mrs S. Ncube, our Parish priest Father Hlakanipha Dube, Board Chairperson Mr Manamike, School Development Committee Chairperson Mr Hapadziwi, representatives from our business stakeholders – Mrs Vera Regional Manager Old Mutual, Mr Matavire Regional Manager Capital Bank, Mr N Ndlovu Southern Region Manager First Mutual, Ms Chakandinakira Manager Gramsol Books, Bulawayo D.E.O Mrs Ndebele, Sr Tsitidzashe Head Primary School, fellow Heads, teachers, parents, Convent ladies, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Dominican Convent Awards Ceremony 2013.
On this occasion as in occasions past, we gather to formally celebrate the abundance of talent that exists within our school in a diverse range of areas and disciplines academic, sporting and cultural. As we celebrate, and celebrate we must, I find it to be an opportune time to, in the words of Stephen Covey, “step back from the canvas”’ and see what figure is emerging from our various contributions in painting the picture of Dominican Education. In other words, what have our collective efforts yielded in our endeavours to equip, educate and prepare the girl child for life during and after school?
Ladies and gentlemen, I invite you to step back with me from the canvas, lay our paint brushes aside, just for a little while and revisit, one specific area that forms the basis of why we are gathered here – that area for me is enshrined in the word SUCCESS. You may wonder why I have taken particular interest in this area today, after all is it not obvious from the array of shields and trophies in front of us that those who will walk away with these ornaments today have succeeded, surpassed the ordinary, beaten their opponents in one area or the other? It is true, the smell of success is in the air.
But I ask that you walk with me, and explore the phenomenon of success.
A couple of weeks ago I attended the Ministry of Education Provincial Merit Awards Ceremony. A few days later we had a guest speaker who unbeknown to all of us had witnessed the ceremony. He addressed us at Assembly and happily narrated events at that ceremony, the highlight of which was, that our school had done exceedingly well. So excited was he at the success that our school had recorded at the Awards Ceremony that he coined a slogan “Dominican Dominates”. We all embraced it and gladly relished the spotlight that our school has gained, after all, we had received the highest number of awards and trophies at this ceremony. As I began to ponder over the issue of success, several thoughts ran through my mind which prompted me to step back from the canvas.
In today’s competitive world, success seems synonymous with having more, and depending on which age category you presently belong to success may vary from to having the highest number of grandchildren, building the biggest mansion in your neighbourhood or attaining the highest number of As. Arguably we have put so much pressure on our children to achieve more so that we can then confer on them the label “SUCCESSFUL”.
In fact is this not what forms the basis of successful sporting and entertainment careers? Have we not used the examples of celebrities such as Lionel Messi who has scored more competitive goals than any other player in the entire history of Real Madrid or Beyonce who has sold the highest number of albums compared to her peers of the former group Destiny’s Child, or Mayweather who has an undefeated boxing career and recently pocketed $41.5 million after beating Canelo Alvarez. As I step back from the canvas of that picture – I begin to see that there is another way of viewing and appreciating our success stories. I shudder to endorse the notion that if our children get more, and beat their peers at some endeavour – that they have automatically become successful. In the same breath let me hasten to say that I am in no way alluding to mediocrity nor the laid back attitude that goes in the popular folklore song, “whatever will be, will be ..”
Ladies and gentlemen, on the contrary I submit to you that success must surely have to do with giving more of oneself to some endeavour than simply getting more. Success must have something to do with being more than you were yesterday, having the courage, the determination, and the will to become the person you believe you were meant to be. True success, ladies and gentlemen is not only measured by what you accomplish but by the opposition you have encountered, and the courage with which you have maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds. It embraces honesty and the notion that you are because we are: -UBUNTU! In the words of Robin Sharma, “the foundation stones for a balanced success are honesty, character, integrity, faith, love and loyalty. These ring true to the values of Dominican education. We owe it to our children, to pass a legacy of success that realizes that being first is only worth celebrating if the rewards thereof have been achieved through VERITAS. If your being talented and giftedness acknowledges and celebrates the diversity of gifting and talents that others have, then you are truly successful. So this evening while we congratulate some of our girls for having excelled in particular areas that the education system has elected to highlight and measure today, there are many who will not walk up to this stage, who are not only as successful in their own right but whose success will be measured by life’s opportunities beyond the confines and limitations of what our education system measures. It is also these we must celebrate beyond today’s programme of events.
I am convinced that a number of the leaders in different fields of human endeavour hardly fitted the mould of success that most education systems valued and measured. It is also this reality that has compelled me to take a broader perspective of success and commend the unsung heroines in our school who work exceedingly hard and graduate from this school as admirable young ladies ready to take on the world.
Indeed let us applaud and commend the many students who are receiving prizes today for they have worked hard and deserve their reward, yet let us not forget that there is not enough time nor a suitable measure that could begin to acknowledge the talent and gifting resident in all our children and students. There truly is a deposit of greatness in each and every one of them. For some, that greatness is still to manifest. Let that be the spirit of this gathering and let it be the spirit with which we raise our children and release them to the theatre of life.
Zig Zigler aptly put it when he said this about success..
- To laugh often and much
- To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children
- To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends
- To appreciate beauty
- To find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition
- To know even one life has breathed easier because you lived, this is to have succeeded”
But our success would lack colour and texture if we failed to acknowledge those amongst us who assisted us physically, morally, emotionally and otherwise in putting together our colourful picture of success.
Firstly let me acknowledge several corporates who have teamed up with us in the following areas:
Capital Bank – thank you for sponsoring our Dominican Derby during the first term.
NMB Bank – our sincere gratitude for your continued sponsorship of our U16 invitational Basketball Tournament.
First Mutual - our profound gratitude for sponsoring our Mathematics Whiz Kid Competition.
Old Mutual - we acknowledge and appreciate your donations of cash prizes that some of our girls will walk away with today as well as the Billboards that we see beautifying our environment outside.
Gramsol Books - thank you for donating gift vouchers that some of our girls will receive today as well as a shield for Overall Best Student.
To our Board and SDC members who have worked tirelessly this year as evidenced by the various on-going projects that you may have observed within and around our school grounds - thank you very much for the support and tremendous work that you have done throughout this year.
To our parents whose invaluable support helps us to foster discipline without which our girls will find it impossible to focus and attain these excellent results - success does not come by accident, therefore thank you for creating a conducive environment at home in which our girls are able to both work and play.
To our religious community represented by Fr Hlakanipha and the Sisters, thank you for your prayers which usher us into the presence of the Almighty. It is there that our zeal and energies are renewed.
To our Teachers whose commitment to duty and work is unsurpassed, thank you for the amazing work that you produce year in year out. It is and has been a fulfilling experience to work with you. I could have never asked for a better team.
To our Administration and Ancillary staff, thank you for your tremendous hard work that is essential and critical in the smooth running of the school.
To the Prefect Body 2012 -2013 - you were an incredible team which lead by example. Thank you for serving your school with pride and dedication.
I thank you all.