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He shared some ideas about how to build resilience, manage disappointment and use failure as an opportunity for growth. After a successful career in hospitality, Ronald McDonald House South Island CEO Mandy Kennedy found her true calling in charitable work. “I meet incredible, courageous people every single day and it’s a true privilege to walk alongside these families on their medical journey.” As well as plenty of practical tips, Mandy encouraged the students to work hard, follow their passions, but make sure to have “a whole heap of fun along the way.” Nutritionist Marco Mollo dished up a hearty “four course” strategy focused on nutrition and wellbeing. “We need to look after our health so we can show up and get the most out of each and every situation.” Marco stressed the importance of enough sleep, healthy and nutritious food, and regular physical activity to ensure optimum performance. Therapist Jessie Kendall talked about how she learned to manage her own mental health issues and mild disability and now dedicates her life to helping others. She stressed the importance of lifelong learning. “I didn’t let my past dictate what I was capable of and what I could become. We all have an authentic power – the ability to work on ourselves and improve our lives. Become more aware of how you think, because the mind is the greatest vehicle for change.” Isaac Giesen hasn’t just rowed the Atlantic once, he’s done it twice – and, in the final session of the day, Isaac took all the students along for the ride, asking them to imagine they were also rowing across the ocean, letting the cares of life on land wash away. He explained some of the practicalities of life at sea, the food he ate, the creatures he saw, the challenges he faced and the thrill

of landfall, and shared his tips for getting the most out of life. “In life there are always ups and downs, a constant battle between highs and lows, but keep rowing. Whatever happens, keep rowing.” BE INSPIRED Magician and entertainer Brendan Dooley was keynote speaker at this year’s Be Inspired Year 7 Leadership Afternoon, warming up the crowd with a little bit of magic, before sharing his powerful and inspirational story with the young audience. Brendan fell in love with performing as a child and has never wanted to do anything else. He was a “quirky” kid, bullied at school and coping virtually alone with tragedy at home. Magic was his escape, a way to help him forget his problems for a while, to manage the many hurdles he faced and find courage to keep going. “I got my first magic kit when I was five, learned to juggle at seven, and got on stage whenever I could. I trained at CircoArts and then launched a career as a professional comedy magician at 16. I’m so grateful for that side of my life, but it’s only one side of my life.” Punctuating his talk with magic and even revealing some of the tricks of the trade, Brendan opened up about his life, asking his audience to think about their lives and their attitudes, to start thinking about the

kind of people they want to become. It is amazing what can be done with the simplest of props. With some money and a Crunchie bar, a deck of cards and a balloon, and several Rubik’s Cubes, Brendan captured the imagination of a new generation and sent them on their way with sound advice and hope for the future. “When bad things happen, think BoB – bitter or better – and choose how you react. Will you get bitter or will you go better? I’ve no doubt every single person in this room will have many opportunities to be at their best. Although I don’t know where your lives are going and what you’re going to be, I’m sure you’ll meet incredible people and that you’ve all got amazing adventures ahead.” After such an entertaining and thought-provoking start to the afternoon, the participants then split into groups to attend workshops focusing on leadership, run by members of the Student Volunteer Army, sports coach Jesse Rawlings, Attitude health education provider, and several College teachers. Students from schools all over Christchurch and Canterbury attended Be Inspired 2019, which was held at College on Wednesday 13 November.

Darrell Thatcher Director of Boarding and the Centre for Character & Leadership


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