Last week, we welcomed all our Sixth Form students, staff and parents online for our End of Year Celebration. Amongst the various performances and talks, the event also involved a heart-warming End of Year speech from Muna, one of our Upper Sixth students. Muna’s speech perfectly captures the unpredictable nature of the past year, as well as the energy, enthusiasm and enjoyment experienced throughout our Sixth Form community. We’re delighted to share her speech with you in full here:
“I still remember the first day of school when we all sat together in this hall and I sat next to a boy with ripped jeans. That was obviously pre-Covid when all of us could gather together in one place. It feels like ages ago. I think all of you will agree with me that the past two years have been the weirdest two years of our life. When school went online on March 23rd, we all thought we would be back in April. Nobody expected that we would not be back until six months later or for some of us including me, almost a year later.
I believe that online learning started off as a struggle for everyone. We all experienced that moment when our OneNote could not sync and we had no idea what the teacher was talking about until five minutes later. And we all had that teacher who started arguing with their computer because they could not share their screen. Remember that friend who ran away to get food and came back horrified because they’d missed the question they’d been called to answer? Or better yet, that friend who froze and completely disappeared in the middle of lesson because their internet connection was down. However, we all adapted, persevered and learned something from the experience. Online lessons made me realise how important socializing was. I truly missed those moments when we bumped into each other in the hallway, stopping to have a chat, or complimenting one another’s outfits.
Despite Covid and online learning, I still feel that my time at d’Overbroeck’s has been the most amazing and most memorable. Like so many of us, I came from a place where conformity is highly valued and school rules dictated every part of my life and I was blown away by the level of individualism and independence at d’Overbroeck’s. When the school website says that d’Overbroeck’s focuses on individuals, I thought it was a little bit cliché. But, now, after having been here for two years, I can honestly say that I have been valued as an individual and d’Overbroeck’s has helped me grow so much as a person. I walked into the school with little confidence in myself. I’d never believed that I was good enough in whatever I did. But here, my Director of Studies, my teachers, my friends and everyone around me made me believe that I am good enough. They made me believe that I can achieve whatever I want in life, and I am so grateful for that. This, I’m sure, is not a unique experience to myself because when I looked around, I saw people who always supported each other. I saw teachers who spent their time after school helping students solve maths questions or improve their essays. I saw friends who made one another laugh even when the deadline for their history or English essays was fast approaching and they hadn’t even written a plan. I saw friends who cheered up each other even when their own chemistry exams had gone terribly bad.
I believe this supportive environment is what makes d’Overbroeck’s what it is and what made the last two years so special to me and to all of us. On behalf of Upper Sixth students, I would like to thank all teachers and staff who have worked tirelessly to support us throughout our time at d’Overbroeck’s and beyond. I would also personally like to thank all of my friends who shared this wonderful journey with me and wish all leavers the best of luck wherever you go. And to the Lower Sixth, make the most of your time at d’Overbroeck’s. If you want to play for the school’s team, do it. If you want to perform in the school’s concert, do it. Enjoy the time that we leavers never had.”
We wish all our Upper Sixth students the very best for their bright futures ahead and look forward to welcoming our Lower Sixth students back in September.