Peterhouse Girls – Newsletter 11 – Michaelmas 2023

FROM: THE HEADMISTRESS Friday 3rd November 2023

Dear Parents and Guardians,

This past week we have enjoyed two wonderful opportunities to celebrate our girls and our school. It was my privilege to report on all that has been accomplished during the year and to acknowledge the achievements of our prize winners at Speech Day on Saturday. We were honoured to have a special guest with us on the day, Rachel Nyaradzo Adams, whose speech blessed and challenged us in a most significant way. Her address will be published in the School magazine and is worth reflecting on.

Following this, we have also had the chance to honour and celebrate our VIth Form girls at their Leavers’ Service. This is always a happy-sad occasion where we recognise them for all they have been to our community, as well as to say goodbye as they move towards the next chapter in their lives.

For all of us remaining, this is a time of reflection as we look on the legacy left by our senior girls and look forward with hope and excitement to the new leaders who will take their place. I wish you all a restful and blessed weekend and leave you with the words of Ms Nyeke as she addressed our Leavers.

Warmest regards,

Mrs Claire Hough

Leavers’ Speech: Ms N. Nyeke (Deputy Headmistress)

Allow me to read a short extract to you from a learned young woman named Joann C. Jones ’During my second year of nursing school, our professor gave us a quiz. I breezed through the questions until I read the last one: What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?” Surely this was a joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times, but how would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Before the class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our grade.
“Absolutely,” the professor said. “In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say hello.” I’ve never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.”
As I considered what to say to you young women, I marvelled looking back over the last few years. I am in awe of what you have achieved and who you are becoming. My words to you today are by way of encouragement. Encouragement for you not to forget the lessons that you learned here, of which they have
been many. But for the purpose of this conversation, I’ll just focus on three.

  1. The significance of people
    Relationships are key to every aspect of your lives. Defined as the way in which people or groups are connected or how people regard and behave towards each other, means you are always going to be in relationships. It has been said how you treat people who you don’t feel are of benefit to you, is a key indicator of your character. So always look out and acknowledge the Dorothys in your life! People matter! Even when we think they don’t! Or even if circumstances or times, make it seem like it is unnecessary to treat them well.
    Life has a funny way of going full circle and causing you to come face to face with people who you may at one stage considered insignificant and believed you would never meet again. So always treat the people you encounter with kindness and grace. A truth we have endeavoured to bury deep within each of you, is the intrinsic value of every human being. So, no matter how successful you are today or how accomplished you are going to be in the future, and in your quest to be the best you can be, remember that your words and actions have a lasting impact on others. Mark Twain put it this way, “Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” So, ladies, endeavour always to be kind.”

    People matter! because there is no one who has ever accomplished anything of significance who did it alone.
    Although there will be times you may feel like you are alone, and that there is no one in your corner, that is never ever the case. There will always be someone cheering you on, believing in you, praying for you and desiring the best for you. And many of those individuals, are the very people in this room. Look around your table. That girl who had your back on the sports field, in the boarding house, that girl who stood next to you, weeping in the rain, on a mountain in Chimanimani, as you shouted bible verses, because you believed that you were about to meet your maker! That same girl may very well be the woman who will stand beside you in the future. These women, your sisters, those bonds don’t simply disappear and some of the relationships you made here are for life. So, continue to value each other, love and learn from each other, and when needed, lean on each other.
    On the same table, are your parents, your loudest, strongest and biggest supporters. Ladies, I know that this is your leavers luncheon, but it’s theirs too, because for them, this is also the end of an era. While you will always be their babies, no matter how old you get, after you leave this campus, there is an undeniable shift that takes place in your relationship, as you begin adulting. Many of you feel it already. No longer are you the young girl who needs permission. You want to make your own choices, make mistakes, as long as they are your own. You want to explore and experience what life has to offer. When the time comes, and you find yourself on the opposite side of a decision with your parents, I want you to remember this. That even then, there are truths that will never change! 1. The love that they have for you and 2. that they always want the best for you. So, in the time between now and university or whatever your next phase in life is going to be, cherish the time you have with your parents. Don’t be too eager to break free and get away.

    Dr Seuss puts it this way: “Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment, until it becomes a memory.” Don’t take the moments you share with your parents for granted. And when you eventually do go out into the world, remember, always to come home. Remember that home isn’t a place, home is the people you leave behind.
  2. Live life to the full
    We hear that saying often and yet it means different things to different people. Everybody’s journey will not look the same. But as we have always encouraged you to live your life to the full on these grounds, I urge you to continue to do so out there. “Wherever you go, go with all your heart. ~ Confucius. Do your best to always live in the moment. Give of yourself passionately in the pursuit of your dreams, whatever those may be. From here on out, you get to decide what you want to do. Whatever that is, give it your all and hold nothing back! Step out in faith, despite the fear. Forgive when someone hurts you and allow yourself to love again even if your heart has been broken. Be fully present in all your encounters and experiences, because
    you never know which of them will hold the greatest blessing or which will bring the most fulfilling and transformational results.
  3. Hold on to your faith
    In a world where standards and beliefs are always shifting, it is important to have something that remains consistent. When there seems to be nothing that can be relied on to remain the same, you are blessed to have someone you can be sure will remain the same, yesterday, today and forever. Whatever the trends, be it a new religion, a new gender, whatever you encounter, always remember ‘Conditur in Petra’. Not only was this school founded on the rock, but we have endeavoured to ensure that your very life is too. You can depend on the unchangeable one, Jesus Christ. He is the anchor for your soul and the GPS that will never lead you astray. So, hold onto your faith for only then, will you be able to build your life on a sure foundation.
    My heart is full of excitement at what lies ahead of you, but at the same time also a little trepidation. Like you, this is a first for me too, as my daughter steps out into the world, with you. But I have this unshakeable confidence, that Peterhouse, this place, that you have called home for many years, has instilled in you, a love for people, a strong work ethic, the right values and the grit and determination that is required to take on whatever life brings you. As you go out into the world beyond these gates, go and do what you have done here, term after term and year after year. Leavers of 2023, -in the words of Minor Myers, Jr. “Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.”

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