This week, the first-ever Fulham Boys left school. This blog is my final message to them.
So this is it. You’re finally leaving. And to think you almost didn’t even arrive. In a blog in July 2014 I wrote, ‘I am saddened there is now a possibility I will not have the opportunity to get to know you and see you develop into self-disciplined, ‘gutsy’, well rounded young men…excelling academically, creatively and on the sports field’. But you did and here you are, about to leave us and go off into the big wide world. As you do, let me say 10 things to you.
- Thank you. FBS owes you and your parents a huge debt. None of this would have happened without you. Whatever the school becomes over the next few years, you were the pioneers, took the risks, stuck with us, did the hard yards. So thank you!
- Sorry. I’m sorry that you didn’t get more time on the permanent site. I’m sorry that as the originals you had to put up with all the teething problems and our mistakes. I’m sorry you didn’t have a head of Sixth Form for some time (although you ended up with a brilliant one!). I’m sorry your schooling has been disrupted by a global pandemic.
- Draw on all this. The most important lessons you have learnt over the last 7 years have not been from textbooks and test tubes. You have had so much thrown at you and have had to be gutsy, resilient, gritty and determined. ‘Smooth seas do not make skilful sailors’. You’ve been through some choppy waters but you’ve come out of them a skilful sailor. I’m sure you will look back and think you wouldn’t have changed the last 7 years for anything.
- Standards. Standards. Standards. Don’t drop them now you’ve left. Look smart, take pride in your appearance, have a firm handshake, eye contact, upright posture, know how to behave appropriately in different settings; remember the most important kind of discipline is self-discipline.
- Think about all the things you have heard in assemblies over the last 7 years.
- Have a can do attitude. Never use your upbringing or background as an excuse for not having big aspirations or as a barrier to achieve your ambitions. ‘Carpe Diem. Seize the day.’ Make your life extraordinary.
- Be brave. Do the right thing, not the easiest.
- Be kind. There is nothing more attractive than kindness.
- You are much loved. There has never been a year group I have known so well or will ever know as well again. Even when you’ve had white socks on, short sleeved shirts, furry hoods, the wrong bag, couldn’t behave on the big swing in Year 7, got over excited playing infected, cussed each other, have needed a ‘how dare you’ moment, you have been great fun and huge characters. There will never be another year group like you. Of that I am sure.
- So keep in touch. You will always be a Fulham Boy. The squadron never dies.
But as a Christian, the best advice I can give you is not my advice at all but words from a book called Proverbs in the Bible. ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths.’ (Proverbs 3.5, 6)
Go well gentlemen. FBS salutes you.