It gives me great pleasure to write my first blog post of the year. I welcome back all of last year's junior students who have now attained the dizzy heights of senior status. I am delighted to welcome all our new juniors and to wish them success in settling in quickly, so that their studies can begin smoothly and efficiently.
Educators think of the year ending in June and beginning again in August, rather than January to December. In England, the academic year starts a little later, and I am very conscious that my first teaching post was in London all of 42 years ago. In September,1973, I doubt very much if I, as an eager young teacher, would have imagined four decades later that I would be running a prestigious college in Malaysia. There is a famous opening sentence in L.P. Hartley's novel, The Go-Between:
The past is a foreign country. They do things differently there.
This is true in many ways; and yet the foundations of education, upon which we attempt to build the future academic careers of our young people, don't really change. The content of syllabuses may alter, but the basic structure remains. I vividly recall the anticipation and worry I felt all those years ago when facing my first A level class. I get that same sensation when getting up to speak to our new juniors today. If the day ever dawns when teaching for the first time does not set the butterflies fluttering in your stomach, I truly believe that's when you should call it a day.
I think this kind of nervousness is healthy. It means you are conscious of the importance of what you are doing and the responsibilities that you carry. KYUEM students feel it, too. Our sponsored young people are depending on their sponsors to facilitate their future careers, while our private students must surely be aware of the financial commitment their parents are making on their behalf. Shouldering responsibility is part of the process of becoming an adult. KYUEM students embrace it in order to prepare for a fulfilling and productive professional life. Many of them will end up as leaders in their field, and there can be no such thing as authority without responsibility.
So a new year begins. Many hopes, aspirations and dreams lie ahead for all of us in the weeks and months ahead. Our seniors will be anxiously awaiting the results of their AS level examinations next month before they begin the serious business of university application. Our juniors need to settle in and get started on their two-year academic journey. I wish each and every one of them the very best of luck for the year ahead.