21 May 2021

Senior High Notes 21st May 2021

Senior High Notes 21st May 2021

My live assembly this morning looked at what these three things have in common – Rembrandt, Elsa from Frozen and a glass of water.


At the beginning of my assembly, I had a “tickly cough” and needed some water. Very kindly Mrs Ley sent Rhea and Niamh down from her U3 tutor group, as their classroom is only just above my room, to help me get some water so that I could carry on with my assembly. Niamh picked up the glass of water and I asked if she wouldn’t mind holding on to it so I could continue to talk about Rembrandt and his painting. I checked that the glass wasn’t too heavy, and Niamh said it was ok and she could manage holding it during the assembly.

We then went on to look at The Return of the Prodigal Son, one of Rembrandt’s masterpieces.

The central themes of this painting are love and forgiveness, and their respective beauty. In the painting, the younger son has returned home in a wretched state from travels in which he has wasted his inheritance and fallen into poverty and despair. He kneels before his father in repentance, wishing for forgiveness and a renewed place in the family. At various times in our lives it is easy to identify with one or all of these three characters. The generous father, who has been deeply wronged but wants to forgive. The eldest son, who complains that he has not had proper recognition from the father.  We’ve all been the aggrieved elder sibling.  But unlike the father, are there times when we’ve preferred to wallow in our grievance and refuse to turn the page and move on? And finally the son who is asking forgiveness - we have also been in the shoes of the penitential son, returning hat in hand, hoping to begin all over again. More often than not, however, many of us prefer to be the older brother.  We’ve been good boys and girls throughout life, been well-behaved, 

worked hard.  But why is it that all the wicked people around us seem to prosper?  Where is justice in this world?

So we end up with a story in which one person desperately wants forgiveness; a second wants to give it freely; and a third begrudges the easy forgiveness that the undeserving brother gets.  But therein is the struggle that goes on daily in our lives.

At this point I went back to Niamh asking her if she was ok still with the glass of water. She told us all that the glass was now feeling much heavier. But we hadn’t added any water, there was still the same amount as earlier. So at this point I let Niamh put the glass down. She felt much better now she had let go of the heavy weight. As Connie found, if you hold it for a minute, it's not a problem. If you hold it for an hour, you'll have an ache in your arm. If you hold it for a day, your arm will feel numb and paralysed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn't change, but the longer you hold it, the heavier it becomes.

Finally we looked at how Elsa fitted into all of this. Elsa famously sang “Let it Go” in Frozen, where she is talking about how she feels much better. This particular line in the song is poignant–

“It's funny how some distance, Makes everything seem small, And the fears that once controlled me, Can't get to me at all”.

So the theme that links Rembrandt, Elsa and a glass of water is letting go and forgiving. The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens.  Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you may feel paralysed – incapable of doing anything. However like Elsa, if you let go you will feel better. It’s important to remember to let go of your stresses and resentments and speak to people you trust - parents, teachers and friends.

Best Wishes

L4 Football Fixture

Although it has rained a lot this week, we were delighted that the sun came out and the rain stayed away for our football fixture against Repton Prep this week. The game finished 2-0 to Repton Prep, but it is important to recognise the improvements we have made from our last game. Our defence prevented a number of goal scoring opportunities and our keeper saved lots of shots on target. Our midfield and attacking players worked together to get into our attacking area and although we didn’t manage to score, they created lots of opportunities. Well played DHS! 

The Reading Champions Quiz 

On Tuesday this week, four of our Year 8 students took part in the regional heat of the new National Reading Champions Quiz. This was a live virtual event where they were pitched against 33 teams from across the region and were grilled over 10 rounds of book related questions. They gave it a great shot and came a respectable 10th, only missing out on a podium position by 5 points. They had lots of fun and learnt even more about books! Well done!

The Hay Festival

From next week you can access the Hay Festival's virtual 2 week programme, packed full of author talks for all ages. You can access the children and young people's events here Hay Festival 2021 - Hay Festival

Intermediate Physics Challenge

Eight U5 students were presented last week with their certificates for the Intermediate Physics Challenge organised by the British Physics Olympiad, which they undertook just after returning from lockdown. They were Darlina, Ella, Rose, Alice, Alexis, Annabelle (Silver) and Gia and PeaceofGod (Bronze). Many congratulations!

Safeguarding Corner

The Importance of Sleep

Sleep is so important to all of us and yet it is something that we are all guilty of neglecting! It’s well-established that sleep is essential to our physical and mental health. But despite its importance, a troubling percentage of people find themselves regularly deprived of quality sleep and are notably sleepy during the day.  Here are a couple of useful links to explore with some top tips for getting a good night's sleep and a 10 minute meditation video to try out! 

How to Sleep Better - Sleep Foundation

How to get to sleep - NHS (www.nhs.uk)

10-Minute Meditation For Sleep - YouTube

The Happiness Challenge

Edukit have created a fun pack of resources and activities for students to complete called The Happiness Challenge. The challenge runs over 5 days and teaches life-skills and introduces children to the positive benefits of journalling and mindfulness. To download the pack click here.

Activate Camps at Derby High School this Summer