Wednesday 21 October 2020: Valedictorian, Imtiyaaz Dollie’s address to the matrics and staff at the breakfast in the Clegg Hall.
Ladies and Gentlemen, honoured guest, respected headmaster and teachers, members, and fellow Wynberg brothers. It’s a great honour to be gathered with you all today. A day that brings one chapter to an end and marks the beginning of another. A day that brings both joy and sadness. A day we couldn’t wait for, a day we wished would never come. Indeed, this is the last day of being Wynberg boys, but never our last day being Wynberg men.
Prelims have concluded, our numbers have been received and all that’s left is a final seating of examination, the last thing, and the thing were all been waiting for. The beginning of the rest of our lives.
We’ve come a long way.
My school life at Wynberg began in January of 2018 (Grade 10).
I wasn’t sure what to expect, or where I’d fit in other than on the soccer field. Especially since I hadn’t been enrolled at the school from grade 8 like the majority of my classmates had been. As soon as I arrived, I quickly realised the impact the Wynberg culture has on an individual. People I barely knew took me in and welcomed me as their own. What were once peers became friends, those that were friends became brothers.
What was a school became a home.
Of course, over time, having spent all these years with these people, memories were made. Whether it be on the field with my teammates, going on tour, support at the Friday night hockey, or Saturday morning at the rugby. Concert in the quad, inter-house events such as sport, singing, and plays. Other things that I’ll remember for years to come: Mr. Searle’s stories, Mr. Eddy’s advice, Kamva’s bounces, Majiet’s offloads, or Declan and Tyrell trying to sell me Herbalife.
We began our journey as matrics with the annual Grade 8 hike. As high as the mountain was, so too were our expectations for our final year. However, all of it was called to a stand-still with the arrival of the pandemic. Our hopes and plans for sport, culture, service, and other school events, were seemingly wiped away, unsure whether matriculating was even an option. Despite this, we remained hopeful and in June found ourselves back and determined to make the most of the year, or what was left of it. Now here we stand ready and eager to take on what life has ahead.
However, we didn’t get here on our own, there’s a group of men and women who, despite all the challenges that we faced this year, stood by our side extending their hand, offering nothing but unwavering support. They are our teachers, our mentors, our heroes. It’s these men and women who, when we had our doubts and uncertainties, gave us reassurance. They guided us, motivated us, but most of all inspired us. I could spend all day listing each individual and why they inspire me, and in the end, I still wouldn’t be able to them any justice.
[To the teachers] “What you’ve given us is priceless”.
We also have to give thanks and appreciation to our parents and guardians. They have been there from the very beginning. Through every twist and turn, all the ups and downs, every victory and defeat, they have been there. If they were here, I’d say thank you for putting us through school and standing by us through our every endeavor. Your support gives us strength that is unmatched and immeasurable. We thank you.
Although the following is directed at a specific group of people, I’m sure we can all make use of it and implement it in our lives. Although not present, to our Grade 8s:
At the start of the year, you completed the annual Grade 8 hike. As much as a hike is a physical activity on the surface, there’s a deeper meaning to it than what meets the eye. You see, climbing a mountain and reaching the top is representative of working and achieving a goal. It is not easy. For the majority of the time, you’ll find yourself at an incline, struggling. It feels as if at every step you are filled with pain and suffering. However, when you reach the top, what was difficulty forms part of the beautiful scenery. Likewise, when you achieve your goals you’ll understand and appreciate the challenges you faced. I mention this as you are at the start of your high school career and from here on things are only going to get tougher, so when the time comes I want you to remember these words. No matter how hard things get, keep moving forward. Keep working, keep climbing, keep striving and you will be successful.
I commend you for having made it thus far in your first year at Wynberg, especially in these unprecedented times. It’s been an honour to have shared with you the short time that we have had.
Although not present, to our Grade 11s:
I’ve been fortunate enough, through sport, tutor groups, and other house activities, to have had a good relationship with the grade 11s and other lower grades. I can safely say that for the years to come, Wynberg is in good hands. You are now the leaders of this institution. You have an influence entrusted to you by the school. Use it for good. Be the reason someone is motivated and inspired. Be the reason some fall in love with the Wynberg way. As a collective, it should be your mission, as every matric class that has come before you, to be the best group this institution has ever seen. I wish you well in your year as leaders.
Last but not least, my fellow matriculants. My brothers. When preparing to address you all today, I thought “what can I leave that could possibly add value?” Something that ties everything together. I came to the conclusion that is no such thing. There will never be the perfect piece of advice, we all live different lives and walk different paths, so to give one piece of advice that would apply to each and every one of you would simply be untrue.
Having said this, there are a few things that I’d like to leave you with today. To be clear, this is no lecture, I use this as a reminder for myself first and foremost. Here are a few things that I believe we all could implement in our journeys ahead.
The road ahead is going to be tough and challenging, but whatever path you choose make sure it is a path that pursues greatness. Greatness isn’t glitz and glamour. Greatness isn’t lifting trophies, achieving awards and accolades. No, greatness lies in the details. The way you carry yourself, the way you interact with others, your character, and your work ethic. It’s the early mornings and the late nights. Trophies and awards are but the result of the greatness you display daily. Leave bits of greatness wherever you go.
Secondly, a piece of advice my father once gave and continues to remind me of to this day. “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”. What it means is, don’t only invest your time and your focus solely on one aspect of your life. For instance, if you are a talented athlete, as much as it there is importance in committing yourself to sport, it’s just as important to invest time in other spheres of your life. Make time for your academics, your creativity, your service, and self-learning. Have a holistic approach to your success. If the pandemic has taught us anything it is that you can plan as much as you want and in an instant, it could all be wiped away. When the time comes, you’ll need to be able to adapt and find ways to thrive and be successful.
Thirdly, dream big, dream big, dream big …
It’s my belief that each and every one of you sitting here today has a talent, an ability, something to offer. Something that the world needs. If you haven’t found it, keep searching and you will find it. For those who already know, use that talent, that passion, and chase after your ambitions. Pursue the life that you envision for yourself. You can achieve absolutely anything you truly commit yourself to. Remember, the only limits we have are the ones we’ve subjected ourselves to, so shoot for the stars, the possibilities are endless.
The truth is you only have one life, so spend it doing something you are proud of. Chasing a dream isn’t easy. Many a time it requires you to make sacrifices. Give up certain things. The true meaning of the term is – to be able to sacrifice who you are for what you can become.
Meaning you will give up every bad habit or tendency that slows you down, which hinders your journey to success. In order to become the person, you wish to be or to get to the position you wish to be in.
Make decisions now that your future self will thank you for.
Lastly. If you were to forget everything I’ve said today, remember just this one thing:
I’m 18 years old and in the short time that I’ve been around, there’s one thing that I’ve learned. It’s something that I live my life by. Without struggle you can’t understand success, without hardship you can’t appreciate happiness.
In conjunction, something that has been taught to me from an early age is that you’ll never be tested beyond that which you can bear. Meaning your struggles aren’t a means for you to become disheartened. Your struggles are but an indication of your strength. It’s an indication of what you can endure.
That’s what is meant when people refer to ‘growth pain’. It’s the physical stretching of one’s character, stepping into a zone of considerable discomfort. Remember, ease is a greater threat to progress than difficulty. Next time you are met with adversity, a challenge, hardship or things just don’t go your way. Know that you are definitely in the right place. Right then and there you are making progress and you are building character.
Despite having all the plans and things set out for this year wiped away, today you stand as ready as ever to take on arguably the biggest step of your lives so far. It’s for this reason that I believe that the matric class of 2020 is the embodiment of our schools’ motto Supera Moras. Not giving up in the face of adversity and overcoming difficulties.
So next time you’re met with hardship and challenges, use this year as a reference. Store up all your triumphs and experience to use as an arsenal to take on what life throws at you. Don’t fear difficulty, go in search of it, welcome it, embrace it.
As I leave, I’d like to end off by saying that it’s been an honour to be a part of this class and the time we’ve had together. I look before me today and I am proud. Not only for the men that you have become, the improvements you have made, and the impact you have had on those around you. I am proud that I can be apart of and associate myself with this group, this family.
Whatever road you decide to take, whatever future lies ahead for you, I wish you all nothing but the best. As I’ve said, work hard, dream big, the world is yours …
Thank you, Supera Moras.