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Gold standard Storey

Published on 06/09/21

Even if Tokyo’s brilliant hosting of the Olympics and Paralympics has caused too many late nights and early mornings, it is hard not to be inspired by the buzz of competitive sport and the individual achievements that have been seen.

Perhaps the most extraordinary UK story was that of Dame Sarah Storey, winner of a record equalling 17 gold medals. To have battled to five gold medals as a swimmer is magnificent, but then having changed sports as a consequence of recurring infections and gone on to win another 12 gold medals, this time for cycling, serves as a reminder to the importance of resilience and the determination to succeed, whatever obstacles lay before us.

Seeing the smiles of achievement in the faces of our pupils on results day was likewise a moment of great joy. The realisation in their eyes that the hard work, the picking themselves up and dusting themselves off along the way where things had not gone as they might have wished and then the realisation that their ‘stickability’ in two extraordinary years had borne fruit was a pleasure to see.

‘Stickability’ is a concept which Gary Lewis, our keynote inspirational speaker from the association of character education, introduced in our staff training sessions this week. It is about resilience - but it is more than just that - it is a principle of self-respect that inspires you to take the important task you know you ought to do, but are inclined to defer, and instead take it, head on, as your first task. If you are the champion mathematician, it might take little persuasion and self-determination to spend several hours working on maths problems, but to spend as long, or even more time on a subject you find less appealing is the true sign of character and stickability.

Claremont Fan Court celebrates at the heart of its ethos the principle that potential should not be pigeonholed but instead pushed, and pushed again. That is what Dame Sarah Storey has done to achieve such success, and it is at the heart of self-reflection and motivation. As we begin a new, and hopefully less undulating year, let us not lose sight of what we wish to achieve; let us take the challenges head on and surpass even our best expectations.

William Brierly