I love it when we wake up in the morning and out of the blue somebody in our house comes up with an impulsive idea for an adventure. This is what happened on Easter Sunday morning. The plan was to meet up with family in the waterfront to go on those Red sightseeing buses around Cape Town. We got ready and hurtled out the door. In the rush I forgot my cellphone at home and I remembered thinking that there wouldn't be anything worth taking pictures of so it wasn't a problem. I was incredibly wrong.
We decided to take the blue route of the tour which took us to the wine route and then on to Hout Bay making our way back to Cape Town via Camps Bay and Sea Point. The weather was perfect and the traffic was subdued.After stopping for something to eat at Groot Constania we made our way back to the bus to continue our tour. The highlight of getting back on the bus was the bright red and yellow earphones we were given at the beginning of the tour.Once plugged back in you felt like you had your very own personal tour guide.
Here comes the part that I haven't been able to shake since I saw it. As the bus slugged its way up suikerbossie we started to get a glimpse of Llandudno and the the amazing picture of the sun hitting the vast expanse of ocean. Our tour guide began to tell us about how the wealthy of the wealthiest live there and that nobody really knows how it got its name other than it is a name of a seaside town in Wales.As we rounded a few more corners the tour guide prompted us to turn around and see the white beaches down below. Something caught my eye almost on the opposite end of the seaside village near Sandy bay. A metal structure protruding from the point. It fascinated me. I wondered what they were doing there and how did they get such a huge metal structure all the way there.As the tour continued I kept peering back long after several winding turns in the road.
Struggling to sleep that night I sat up at 02h30 and grabbed my cell phone. I needed to know what exactly it was and how did it get there. My first port of call was google maps. Wow! it wasn't even on land. It was on the rocks in the ocean and it has a name... "Wreck of Bos 400".
It is much bigger than I had seen. I proceeded to read the stories and articles of the fate of the Bos 400. I wont bore you with all the details, but I will tell you to google it for yourself if you interested in the details. The short story is that this hunk of metal is a french barge that ran aground being towed by a Russian tugboat to Cape Town in June 1994. Now you might remember this being reported on the news in 1994, but in my defense I was still wet behind the ears and had no interest in the news.
Here is what really stood out for me. This barge was the biggest floating crane in Africa, being one of the most powerful crane barges in the world capable of lifting 1200 tons and was worth a whooping 70 million US$. Not anymore of course. That is astounding. Talk about purpose, but its up against the rocks now. In reading further i find it it ironic and almost immediately related this to our theme for the year "#IHAVEPURPOSE"
The barge was towed by a tugship and the sea conditions were terrible. The towline snapped leaving the barge at the mercy of the ocean. Can I point out at this stage that a barge floats and has no engines to propel or guide its way in water let alone a stormy ocean. Its fate was sealed and crashed up against the shoreline. There have been several attempts to salvage the wreckage but have all proven to be impossible. It has been left to corrode.
Drawing the parallels to our theme this year you can be the biggest and the most powerful boasting all your capabilities, but if you don't have an engine you going to land up on the rocks. Sitting up in bed in the early hours of the morning I realised that this is really something to be aware of. I have had many chats with students who have the most amazing dreams and who have the potential to be the biggest and most capable,but if they don't use their engines(heart and brain)they will become adrift and have the possibility of landing up on the rocks.
We are very different to the barge in that we all have engines(hearts and brains). Sometimes we rely on the towline far too much that when it snaps we are not prepared to deal with the stormy ocean or even still water. Whether it is drifting or crashing it is not part of your purpose.
This is one of the biggest objectives we have at Peak to empower students to have the ability to think for themselves and to stand independently.
Do you know how to use your engine when the towline snaps?
I attended a business men's breakfast over the weekend. It was good to connect with people and network. The thing that stood out the most for me during the talk was the fact we were being challenged to be courageous in our business ventures.
It takes a while for my brain to kick into gear, but I thought that it would be a good challenge for all of us this week to "call on our Courage".
This past week it has been awesome to see how most students have taken the ownership of their studies so early in the year, but I have also noticed that a few students seem to be hanging back as if they are waiting for something or someone to give them a magical answer on how to get it into gear. If I dare add to this that I have also noticed that some of our parents have found themselves with new challenges faces their teenage children and fear to rock the boat.
I have set a challenge for myself this week and it might have to last a bit longer than a week. Lets press pause there for a second and figure out what Courage actually means.
Students - the challenge for you would be to find the "strength" or "boldness" to ask the questions that you have struggled to ask or to even pluck up "braveness" to say that you don't know where to begin. There are people who will help and who can guide you through it. I got so excited last week when a student (girl) came into the office and burst into tears saying she didn't know how to study. It sounds strange that I got excited but she found the courage to say something. Now she will get the information she needs in order to study well.
Parents - I often feel I am treading on toes when giving parents advice, but I feel the need to step out with a bit of "audacity" here to say your challenge is to be brave when your child asks to do something that you know will cause harm. The word NO must have been created by a parent who wanted to save their kids. Remember when your child was a curious toddler and they started heading towards the electrical plug socket on the wall to put their finger in the hole. What was your response ....... A loud cry ...... NOOOOoooooooo!!!!!!!! You did not want any harm to come to them. Call on you courage to set firm boundaries and rules. Kids function well when they know where the boundary lines are.
Staff - (Me included) We signed up to teach and give guidance so then lets be bold and do that. Take the courage to step out and and find new and better ways to change the words in the textbook into exciting new knowledge.
" Courage is doing what you are afraid to do. There can be no COURAGE unless you are scared." - Eddie Rickenbacker
Will you accept the challenge to call on your courage this week?
During 2016 I can't tell you how many times I have heard the question "Whats the point?" I am sad to say that it is accompanied by other questions like " Why am I even here?" and " Why bother getting out of bed?". When I hear students of 15 years old asking these questions I get the distinct impression that it isn't really a question, but more of a statement for the simple reason that if they cant figure it out how could anybody else claim to have figured it out.
I have noticed over the last several years more and more teenagers winding up in some kind of treatment facility for depression or addiction. In most cases the treatment itself costs an arm and a leg and in my opinion has very little effect or change in a teenager. In 2016 alone I have been directly and indirectly involved in 10 teenagers that were admitted for various issues. This number might seem trivial however this number is 10 lives that are halted from being able to reach their potential. It is 10 lives that affect their friends lives and in more ways than one the effects are negative. I also want to point out that there are a number of teenagers who are not fortunate enough to be admitted to these treatment centres as not all parents can afford it. This means that there are a growing number of teenagers that have adopted the thinking of "What is the point?' and it is going unnoticed.
I have had the opportunity to sit with teenagers over the year to try and understand what it is that we can do to change this situation. Here are a few of my observations:
During our chats I have picked up a few common threads.
During 2017 we have launched our them for the year.
" # I Have Purpose"
This is our way of answering those questions that I mentioned in the beginning. It became very clear to me that everyone needs direction including me. We need a vision and goals. If we don't have something to look forward to then what is the point of life. I also recognise the value in structure and routine.
Not only do we want to share this with our students, but our parents and staff. Over the course of the year we will be dealing with four main aspects to our theme:
We have turned the ignition on and are waiting for this machine called Peak Academy to warm up after our long holiday. In the next couple of days we are preparing for all your questions. In order to direct your questions to the right person to get a quicker response please see below.
" Who does what "
2016 is drawing to an end. As we look back on all the crazy things we have committed ourselves to doing during this year we can say that it has been an epic roller coaster ride.
It doesn't stop there. We have made a new list of commitments for 2017 and we really cant wait to make 2017 a year to remember. Keep your eye out for our new theme that we will be launching for 2017. #happynewyear2017 #bidfarewell2016
This is the event of the year for all our students. We are preparing for a night to remember. Every year we celebrate the achievements of our students from academics to personal achievements. We even throw in a couple of those memorable funny moments that have happened throughout the year.
Students are encouraged to bring a partner to share in this prestigious event with a 3 course meal, dancing and loads of entertainment at Blue Horizon Estate overlooking Simonstown bay.
Our final year students are our guests of honour and it is our custom to bid them farewell and success for their future endevours beyond Peak Academy.
Due to the fact that we host this event every year we use this occasion to allow students to experience the etiquette of formal functions like this. Parents are not required to "go all out" by buying brand new outfits. Our students don't always know how to plan, but they definitely know how to organise. Parents should encourage their child to be original and thrifty.
We look forward to sharing this evening with our students. Keep your eye out for the photos of the evening.