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Current Petrean News

Speech Day 2020 – Head of School – Crispen Mashingaidze

Chairman of EXCO – Mr Simon Hammond, Guest of Honour – Mr Vic Paungwena, The Rector – Mr Trafford, Headmistress of Peterhouse Girls – Mrs Hough, members of common room, invited guests and the kings and queens of Peterhouse.

Thank you, Mr Paungwena, for presenting our prizes and for your wise words of encouragement. Thank you, sir, for taking the time to be with us, it is always lovely to have you back at Peterhouse.

I am honoured to stand before you today as the 62nd and most special Head of School. Special in the sense that I was given the privilege to lead this great school in a year as unorthodox as 2020. Peterhouse has been our home away from home for the past 6 years. A group of 90 boys entered Tinokura, raring to begin their high school careers with no knowledge of what lay ahead of them. Tinokura prefect Kuda Manase wasted no time in letting us know of where we stood – at the bottom of the food chain. We came, we saw, and we finally made it to the top.

Looking back at this year there is so much we have missed out on but that did not stop us in having a successful year. Our debaters travelled to the USA earlier this year and represented us competently. The Peterhouse Model United Nations Conference has grown immensely, seeing more schools in attendance this year. The Interact and Leo clubs continued to serve our local community despite the obstacles faced this year. On the sporting front, we saw an exciting first team basketball side that electrified the crowds at the inaugural Tongai Songore basketball tournament. The first team cricket side has returned to winning ways, they went to South Africa on tour and won with the odds stacked against them, beating Kingswood and Graham college set the tone for their season, as during the regular season they only lost to Prince Edward, a truly impressive season from the boys. Our athletics team, that never seems to disappoint, came 2nd at the Prince Edward sprints challenge and won the Interschools relays annually hosted here at Peterhouse boys and most importantly the 1st XV rugby team went unbeaten conceding no tries in all our fixtures, sterling effort from the Kings.
2020 has been a special year as we are living through history, in 2020 we saw the return of the combined Interhouse Individual athletics competition which was a truly enthralling day that will hopefully carry on in the future. The start of Digi-school, a milestone in the teaching style of the Peterhouse Group of Schools, brought about a challenging but new approach to learning that will benefit us as we go out into an everchanging world. Not having a winter term was a painful pill to swallow especially for the sixth form. Having Mr Kirkman say, “right boys, dig deep, it’s those who do something they hate everyday who succeed in life” through google classroom did not seem to make me feel as guilty as it did here at school.

To the leavers, although we have lost out greatly on the most important year of our high school experience, there is much we can still be grateful for over the past year. The amount of time we got to spend with our families was a blessing in disguise. During a normal year we only spend the equivalent of 3 months at home, this time gave us a chance to reconnect and appreciate our loved ones. The lockdown period also gave us the chance to reflect and look in the mirror and ask ourselves the tough questions; Where do I go from here? What is my life’s purpose and how am I going to fulfil my calling? Sydney Harris once said,

“The art of living successfully consists of being able to hold two opposite ideas intension at the same time: first, to make long term plans as if we were going to live forever, and second, to conduct ourselves daily as if we were going to die tomorrow.”

Live everyday as if it were your last but be hopeful and plan for tomorrow so that when it eventually arrives, you are equipped and ready take on life’s trials. Life is not meant to be endured; it is meant to be enjoyed.

To the boys remaining, remember to uphold the true values of a Peterhouse boy, humility, respect, and loyalty. Seek challenges, for it is in the face of adversity that grit and tenacity is obtained. Use the opportunities given to you wisely as Peterhouse offers an education that will prepare you for life in the 21st century. Be spontaneous, some of the best memories you will make here are unplanned and uncoordinated.

In closing I have a few words of thanks; on behalf of the leavers I want to thank the parents of the Class of 2020. Your sacrifices to send us to the best school in the country do not go unnoticed and for that we are eternally grateful. Thank you to the members of common room for guiding us and imparting a great deal of knowledge that stretches beyond the walls of the classroom. A few words of personal thanks, to Mr Blackett, thank you for entrusting me with the responsibility to lead this school. To Mr Trafford, although our time together has been cut short, it was a pleasure and an honour to work so closely with you. To our “real father” as he likes to call himself, Mr Barbour, thank you for looking after the Grinham boys and caring for us as if we were one of your own, I shall never forget the screams of terror that echoed from the bathroom whenever you caught Christopher Dziwa out of bed at lights out. To the prefect body, thank you for leading the school well and for setting the bar high for next year’s office bearers.

Last but certainly not least, thank you to my personal assistant, the deputy head of school – Taine Smith. Your counselling has made me a better leader and your friendship has made me a better person.

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you.

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