Jeppe broke away from a long-standing tradition this week when, for the first time, the main speaker at the annual Valedictory Assembly was not a Jeppe Old Boy.
Instead, Mr David Lovatt, the headmaster of King Edward VII School was invited to address the outgoing matrics. When introducing the speaker, deputy principal Mr Brendan Gittins explained that it was fitting to mark this strange Covid-19 year with something different, and for the boys to hear that they, as a school, were not alone in facing the challenges. Asking Mr Lovatt to speak to them illustrated the long-standing collegiality that exists between Jeppe and King Edward, an association which became closer this year as the schools collaborated in striving to keep education on track.
Mr Lovatt quickly got any awkwardness that may have existed out of the way by pointing out that there are far more similarities between Jeppe and KES than there are differences. He likened the schools to two pots of stew. The ingredients are basically the same, but they are cooked by different chefs, the cooking methods may differ and they are tweaked by different herbs and spices. In the end, you have two dishes with their own unique flavours, but both are quality meals, and both are delicious.
He then went on to deliver a powerful message, based mainly on the importance of hope. In 2020 what we hoped for did not happen, but we learnt to keep on hoping, he said. “Hope is powerful and it’s the most important thing in facing life’s challenges. Through hope you link the past and the present and you can tackle the future.”
But it’s not enough to just hope. “Hope alone will not produce the outcomes you desire. You need to put in the hard work required to achieve. If you do that then hope becomes a weapon, it gives you the power to do the impossible,” he said.
He told the class of 2020 that they are survivors of the pandemic, not victims. He reminded them that they were privileged to have attended a school like Jeppe and that they now have boundless opportunities to go out into the world and make a positive contribution.
An inspirational message from a great educator. Thank you Mr Lovatt.