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coached. This, in time, was replaced by tennis and table tennis and, famously, Lesley was in charge of cooking at Rangi Ruru Girls’ School as a Saturday morning activity, a remnant of when school was six days a week. It is in Learning Support that Lesley has shone for so many boys and families at College. Her loving support for the child that needs that little extra, combined with informed intervention to address a learning need, so as to access the curriculum, has been her hallmark. Her ability to bring her team together to effectively change the life trajectory of many of her students reflects her leadership skills and compassion. Her “parent- wrangling” is renowned among staff, as is her humility. It is a sad day for College as Lesley leaves, but we wish her and Tony the very best in what we hope will be a fulfilling twilight together for many years to come. Lesley will be remembered here in one way by a prize that will be handed over for the first time today as she presents the prizes. And now some final words to the boys assembled here today, those with a year of College to go, and especially to those who are leaving. No experience is the same for each participant and that has been so throughout your school years. The earthquakes of 2011, the mosque shootings of 2019, and an ongoing world pandemic. Yours are certainly unique years … What we hope is your College experience has helped guide you, with our core virtues front of mind and through our graduate expectations, implicit in all our programmes, to be ready for what is the next step in a life well lived. Through your personal journey, and, most importantly, the choices you have made, you have led yourself to now. As a result of circumstances beyond your control, I believe you are one of the most flexible, adaptable and resilient groups of students to ever graduate from Christ’s College. You are well prepared for what lies beyond and far from the College gates. For the

complex, and at times confronting future you face, I make the following suggestions, with thanks to Maria Popova of The Marginalian. Do nothing for prestige or status or money or approval alone … Prestige is like a powerful magnet that warps even your beliefs about what you enjoy. It causes you to work not on what you like but what you’d like to like and what others might like. Such extrinsic motivators are fine and can feel life-affirming in the moment, but they ultimately don’t make it thrilling to get up in the morning and gratifying to go to sleep at night, and in fact, they can often distract and detract from the things that do offer those deeper rewards. Don’t just resist cynicism … Fight it actively. Fight it in yourself, and counter it with those you engage by modelling its opposite. Cynicism often masquerades as experience, time served or nobler intention, but is categorically inferior. Unlike critical thinking, it is inherently uncreative, and culturally corrosive. Always counter cynicism by bending toward growth and change and improvement and the disposition to be curious and constructive. Allow yourself the uncomfortable luxury of changing your mind. We live in a culture where one of the greatest social disgraces is not having an opinion, so we often inform our opinions based on superficial impressions or the borrowed ideas of others without investing the time and thought that cultivating true conviction necessitates. It can be enormously disorientating to simply say I don’t know, but it’s infinitely more rewarding to understand than to be forthright even if that means changing your mind about a topic or ideology, or above all, about yourself. Be generous … be generous with your time, your resources and with gratitude and especially with your words as it’s so much easier to be a critic than a celebrator. Aligned to this is to always be philanthropic. To give of your time, your treasure and your talent to help others. Remember to give is to receive.

Expect anything worthwhile to take a long time. The myth of overnight success is just that, a myth. Appreciate and expect the need for hard work and acknowledge the truth of the journey. And finally, a reminder and a suggestion … remember you are the sum of your choices and the master of your destiny, and each choice somehow alters the path ahead. The moral compass within is in fact the guiding star and I suggest there is no better foundation for the choices you will make than the example of Christ, the person after which your school, your Christ’s College, is named and where you have spent some of the most formative years of your life. With every best wish to you all, and for everyone gathered here, for the remainder of the year and I trust Christmas brings you great joy. Noˉ reira, te¯na¯ koutou, te¯na¯ koutou, te¯na¯ tatou katoa. Garth Wynne Executive Principal


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