Recently I came across an image of a cassette tape, and it brought back so many memories of the “struggle” of playing music when I was growing up. For those of you who have no idea what this is, the cassette tape was the primary format which music lovers utilised to enable the pumping of music in headphones and at home, prior to the advent of the CD. 

I suppose in some ways it should be acknowledged that the skills learnt from cassette tape management played a role in shaping me as a person. I am sure some parents can relate to the excitement of sitting next to a radio on a Saturday afternoon, and having one’s patience and perseverance tested in trying to record the hit song of the week from the radio. The end result would only be successful if the beginning and the end of the song could be enjoyed without having recorded the DJs voice, or without the disturbance of some or other advertisement jingle. Anything short of that would necessitate a second attempt, and this meant committing to a serious number of hours next to the radio, in the hope of the perfect result.

There is no doubt that as we head towards the end of year, it is a bit like playing a tape. There are the predictable end-of-year concerts, awards ceremonies, staff functions, and other significant moments and events that accompany this special time on the school calendar. Each of these bring with them their own set of mixed emotions.

For our Grade 12 students and parents who, in some cases, have already started counting down the number of school runs remaining, there is the realisation that this is coming to an end all-too-soon. For some of our families, it signals the end of close to two decades where this school run has been an integral part of their daily existence.

For other college students receiving their examination results, and being able to read their teachers’ feedback in their reports, provides an opportunity for growth and reflection. Not all will do as well as they had hoped for; others will be pleased with a slight improvement in some subjects, and others will be grateful for having remained focused throughout the examination period and having given of their best.

For our Grade 7s, who are gradually starting to realise that their days as “big fish” in the Prep School are rapidly coming to an end, and with that are able to look forward to new and different challenges as they enter the High School phase of their lives. For some parents, the prospect of entering High School and getting to know new teachers, and navigating slightly different systems and new jargon that comes with the transition to the High School year, also comes with a mix of excitement and anxiety for themselves and their children.

Further down in the school there is the disbelief that another year has come to an end and that your baby is entering a new grade, and is becoming smarter and more challenging (mostly in a good way!) by the day.

These, and many other significant milestones, are important milestones and we should all draw inspiration from these magical moments in our lives.

Back to my cassette tape analogy … Without doubt, the worst thing that could have happened was to get a tangled tape. The tangled cassette tape signalled the end of many things, the end of good music, and new levels of frustration, but there was also a sense of optimism if the possibility existed to untangle the tape. The twisted, knotty mess coming out in all directions and tangles everywhere, left several choices to be made. Sometimes with the help of some surgical intervention i.e. cutting the tape and glueing it back together with nail varnish, the tape became usable again, even though some of the lyrics and melody lines were a little dodgy in places. Not to mention how useful the multipurpose pencil was in winding it all together again.

As we enter the last few weeks of the school year, my wish for every Bridge House family is to hold onto and enjoy the magical moments that wait for us, and to take the time and energy to focus on what is important to you. Do not let the jumble-that-needs-untangling rob you of the joy of the moment. 

Andrew Jones

College Deputy Head: Wider Curriculum, Sport and Boarding