Find Your Joy

July 10, 2017 - 6 minutes read

For the last few years the Principal’s speech to the grade seven graduating class has served as the final blog post for the school year. So in keeping with tradition what follows were the remarks given to our outgoing grade seven students and their families. We hope everyone has a wonderful summer and we look forward to welcoming our new and returning Hollyburn families in September.

May I offer my congratulations to both our students and their families. You have reached an important milestone in your educational career. On Monday, our Kindergarten students celebrated with an end of year ceremony that marked the end of their first year of formal education and now this afternoon we mark and celebrate you. You are over halfway through. For some of you the journey might include post secondary education, either university or college or trade school. For others of you, you might be keen to join the workforce right after high school. But either way, today marks an important moment in your journey into adulthood.

It is customary at a graduation ceremony for the adults to offer some important guidance and wisdom to our graduating class. You will after all be leaving us here at Hollyburn and it is our last chance to teach you one more lesson. So today, as the wise old leader, I’d like to talk to you about joy. At the beginning of the school year, I challenged the teachers to find a way to bring joy into their classrooms and lessons each and every day. As I’d walk around the building through classrooms and outside on the playground I found joy and I saw joy each and every day.

I want you from here on out to look for ways to bring joy into your lives and the lives of others. Because, if you can find joy each and everyday you will have a life well lived. I see each and every one of you filled with joy from time to time. Some find joy on the basketball or volleyball court. Others find joy singing in the choir. Some of you are filled with joy when you are hanging around with your friends. I see joy in your eyes after a job well done, when you have helped a fellow student or when immersed in a great book.

There is a famous Hungarian psychologist named Mihály Csíkszentmihályi and he uses the term Flow to describe the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does and as a result loses sense of space and time. Sometimes people call this being in the zone. I thinking Flow and joy are interconnected.

My hope for you is that you too find your flow, but also be open-minded to finding your flow in areas you are not expecting. It is possible to find your flow in a math class, or on the football field. Flow can be found in helping others in need or dancing on the dance floor. I encourage you to try many different things, to meet many different people and embrace all the opportunities that will come your way. Don’t be afraid to keep looking for joy.

When you can find joy and passion in what you do you will go far. We already know that you are great thinkers, communicators, and citizens. Maintaining your focus and pursuit of knowledge is not only crucial for you but for us too! The world needs people filled with joy. Joy for science, art, and humanity.

My grandparents’ generation is often called the great generation. They joined together during WWII to fight against hate and oppression. Some have wonder about who will be the next great generation. I think it will be you. I think it will be your generation who will join together to tackle climate change, to fight for equality, to battle against cancer. Because you can find joy in this world you will fight to make it a better place to be.

Hollyburn graduating class of 2017, I feel honoured and proud to be your principal you are wonderful, respectful, thoughtful young people and your legacy at Hollyburn will live on. I wish you and your families joy as you continue on to the next stage of your journey and hope that you keep in touch.