Today we began the 102nd school year at Roycemore School and welcomed back our Griffins!! It is great to see them all. The school feels so much better when our students are on campus and we have been eager to have them back.
This morning we had our welcome back, all-school assembly that brought students together from all divisions of the school to set a tone for the year. I shared with our students the special things I love about Roycemore. I have fallen in love with its inclusive environment where students from many different backgrounds come together and each is appreciated for their originality and is valued for the unique contributions they bring to our community. With the decline in civility and downright ugliness that has been taking place in some of the greater landscape around us, it is comforting to know that Roycemore is a respite from that. Roycemore had a commitment to diversity and inclusion long before it became “the thing” to do. I told the students that while we may be different, we are all Griffins and we have this special place that we can come to every day where everyone belongs.
We had a special guest join us for the assembly–our beloved Griffin mascot–which thrilled our Lower School students to no end. Griffin was greeted by them with High 5s and hugs! Did you know that our Griffin mascot stems back to our founding in 1915, and is an ancient symbol dating back to 3000 BC? A revered symbol around the globe, the Griffin stands for courage, boldness, strength, leadership, and intelligence, all qualities that we embrace at our school. A Griffin is even part of the door to Dumbledore’s office in the Harry Potter movies, so with an obvious connection to Harry Potter, I took the opportunity to share Dumbledore’s wisdom with our students, and my top FIVE of Dumbledore’s Words to Live By. I share them with you below, along with the thoughts I shared with our students, as I believe his wisdom is applicable to all of us.
#5 “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” Every day we make hundreds of choices, some of them big and some of them small. These choices demonstrate WHO we are. Sometimes we make the wrong choices and we regret it. We kick ourselves for making that choice. But here’s the thing… the most important NEXT thing you can do is “Do THE NEXT RIGHT THING”!! Sometimes those bad choices have to do with the words we choose to say, which brings me to #4 on my list of Dumbledore’s Words to Live By.
#4 “Words are, in my not so humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it…” Think about something someone said to you that made you not feel so good about yourself…. Got it? Think about how you felt inside. It hurts! It makes us feel small! It can zap our confidence. Now, think about a time when someone gave you a compliment… especially one you didn’t expect. How did that make you feel? Did you feel joy? Did you feel energized? Did it boost your confidence? And how hard is it really, to give someone a compliment? To say something kind? It is actually much easier than to say something unkind. Use your words to boost other people’s confidence. Guess what, it is magical! The more kind things we say, the more kind things get said. We have a choice EVERY day to play our part in the magic of Roycemore–the magic of treating everyone with respect, kindness and compassion.
Ok, but what if you DO make that choice every day, but your friend is being unkind? Well, that brings me to #3 of Dumbledore’s Words to Live By…
#3 “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.” This is a little harder sometimes. We can’t control what other people say, but we can choose to not stand beside them and allow them to be unkind. Put yourself in the shoes of the person that is the target of our friend’s ugliness…imagine if that were you. If the person standing next to the mean person said nothing, you would think they agreed with the mean person, wouldn’t you? Don’t be the person who is agreeing by your silence. Be on the POSITIVE TEAM… join others around you to be part of this community where we value each other and the amazing originality that every person brings to this special place. Let’s be UNITED in that… which brings me to #2 on the list of Dumbledore’s Words to Live By….
#2 “We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.” As we begin the school year, I challenge you to find ways to bring us together. What are some new ways we can build a stronger community? Do you have ideas of how we can bring our youngest learners together with our oldest learners? Do you have ideas for how we can build a stronger spirit of Roycemore? Let us know your thoughts of how we can share with people outside of Roycemore what you think is special about our school and community. And with that, I want to leave you with a final thought from Dumbledore…
#1 “It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be.” I bet you when Dumbledore was a child or a teenager, he wasn’t nearly as wise as he became… but I bet he listened to people who were wise and helped him grow into the person he became… a wonderful mentor to Harry Potter!
So as we begin the school year, it is an opportunity for a new start, to embrace every opportunity to learn and grow, and to try new things. When students first come to Roycemore, many of them have never even done a somersault, but with the commitment, expert guidance (thank you Mrs. Wunder!) perseverance and practice, you soon accomplish amazing feats! I believe every one of us is capable of achieving things we never thought possible. I challenge you to make a commitment to yourself this year to be your best GRIFFIN self!