Head of School Speech

Senior School
14 Jan 21

As we announced last week, Patrick Mullen (Upper Sixth) is one of our Heads of School this term. During the Headmaster’s Assembly today, Patrick delivered his speech. You can read the transcript below. Next week, we will hear Cameron Lamont-Brown (Upper Sixth) deliver her speech.

“Good afternoon School,

I hope you have all had an enjoyable and relaxing break and you were able to celebrate Christmas and New Year as close to normality as possible.

I would first like to start by congratulating Cami on becoming Head of School. I have been close friends with Cami since we both joined the School in First Form and there is no one else who deserves the role more than her and I look forward to working with her this term and listening to her speech next week.

When I first joined SVS I could have never imagined that I would get the chance to stand in front of the whole School and deliver this speech, let alone have to do it virtually. 2020 was a strange year for all of us, lessons went to zoom, wearing a mask became the norm and Christmas was essentially cancelled…

With everything being closed or banned, it was only then that I truly realised how much I missed the simple things in life: meeting with friends, playing sport or even sitting in the classroom. It was after these things were gone that I realised how much I missed them and ended regretting not doing more with the time that I had, and taking the opportunities I had, and this is what I want to talk to you about today.

When I first joined SVS I had the same goals as many of you did: to fit in, to make friends and certainly not to stand out or be different in any way.  And, as I got older and spent more time at the School, I came to realise that these things really don’t matter and actually at a place like Sutton Valence being different and standing out are things that are embraced. I look back on my younger years at the School with slight regret, a regret that I let things like popularity and friendships get in the way of achieving more and experiencing new things.

An example of all of this is Hockey. When we first played the sport in the Lent term of 2015, I was surrounded by friends who didn’t enjoy the sport and didn’t want to be there. This meant that I wanted to copy them and also didn’t give the sport a chance and ended up dropping It at the earliest point I could. In the Lower Sixth, when It was a choice between revision or Hockey, I decided to take it up again and fell in love with the sport. My only regret is that I didn’t give it more of a chance when I was younger because now, I play a sport I really enjoy but am just not very good at it

Maybe sport isn’t your thing, and that doesn’t really matter. Whether its Art or Drama, Music or History, whatever your passion is – go for it. Don’t let anyone or anything hold you back. I have never been happier than during the School’s production of the Sound of Music. If I had listened to what was popular and copied what my friends were doing, I never would have got that chance to experience this and would have missed out on all the memories it brought me. Do things that make you happy and everything else suddenly becomes less important.

Whether you have five months or five years left in your SVS journey, don’t waste a single moment of it, it’s never too late to try something new, pick up a new hobby or make a new friend. I understand this may be tough due to the current lockdown but make the best out of a bad situation: try new things around the house and who knows where it might take you. Soon enough we will be back at School with all the normal exciting opportunities. I urge you not to waste it because If 2020 has taught me anything, it’s how quickly opportunities and things we love can disappear.  Don’t wait around for opportunities to come to you or wait for a better time because there is no time like the present and who knows what’s around the corner.

As is tradition, I will end my speech with a quote. It was made by an Australian singer Cody Simpson. He said, ‘take every opportunity that comes your way and most importantly, have fun with it.’

Good luck with the term ahead and stay safe.

Thank you for listening.”