As we approach the end of our centenary year it seems fitting that our character quality for June is gratitude. As a school we have so much to be grateful for, you just have to look around our beautiful site and see all the smiling children enjoying the freedom of being able to run around and play.
However, at times we can all find it difficult to be grateful and can forget how fortunate we are. Despite the many positives in our lives, we can often find ourselves fixating on the one small detail of a day which might not have gone as we thought. In a life spent increasingly online it is easy to compare our lives with others and not appreciate what we have. Gratitude allows us to alleviate those feelings. Dr Robert Emmons, professor of psychology at University of California, Davis, and the “world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude” says this about gratitude:
“Gratitude makes us appreciate the value of something, and when we appreciate the value of something, we extract more benefits from it; we’re less likely to take it for granted.
Gratitude reminds us of the blessings we already have in our lives, charity enables us to extend that abundance to others in need. This year, more than any other, Claremont has looked outwards. Asking ourselves what can we do to show our appreciation to local charities who give so much to our community. At the start of the year we challenged all of our pupils not only to fundraise for charity but to donate time, to come up with fundraising ideas and raise awareness of our Claremont 100 charities. Our pupils have engaged in acts of charity more so than ever this year. By doing so they have acknowledged the struggles and hardships faced by others and acquired more knowledge on the amazing work done by these charities. Everyone has challenged themselves in different ways. The Pre-Prep and Nursery have walked the British Isles, the Prep School committed themselves to 100 acts of kindness and each house in the Senior School has organised a charity month. Back in February many of our sixth form students shared the experience of sleeping in the tunnels under the school for a night. A short, uncomfortable night spent on cobbles developing a new level of appreciation and awareness of other peoples’ experiences.
It is acts like these which our pupils will remember, the hard work and dedication it has taken them to raise awareness and money this year. When you give back, there is a moment of gratitude between the charity and the person. This year has helped us all to appreciate and value our good fortune and forced us to remember, as often as possible, to not take it for granted.
We will continue with our efforts to raise awareness and money for these charities. I have been overwhelmed by the positive and dedicated response from the whole school community and I am incredibly grateful to all of you who have supported Claremont 100.