Earlier this week, I had the pleasure to speak to some prospective students at the 11+ Evening. It made me reflect on my own journey from an 11-year-old making the transition to secondary school to someone now aged 18 in my final year at KES. Looking back, one of the things that I really enjoyed and appreciated over the years is the freedom that we have in our learning. For me, having the power to think and explore freely in a safe and inspiring environment is, indeed, invaluable.
When we first set foot into KES, we are just at the beginning of our academic and personal journeys and developments. Not many Shell boys could predict precisely what their interests and passion would be by the time they leave. From then on, we are exposed to so many great opportunities, from learning various subjects in sciences and humanities, to trying our hands at activities in music, sports, CCF and charitable work, the list goes on. We are allowed the luxury of following up on our own interests, enjoying the chances to try and reflect, from which we acquire information, ideas, skills, values and friendship that will stay with us for life. Slowly but surely, through many trials and errors, with the guidance and help from our teachers and peers, we experience the joys and frustrations of self-discovery, and begin to understand who we are and what we want to achieve in life.
As we grow up, we inevitably need to take on more responsibilities and make more choices, which direct us along a certain route. At times it may feel like our choices start to become somewhat restricted, our natural curiosity and the feeling of freedom begin to fade, and there lies a danger of being less willing to try new things for fear of failure. But as Einstein put it: “Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labour in freedom.” I am grateful that KES has nurtured and instilled a spirit of freedom in us, and firmly believe that it is up to us to search, and seize, the freedom and courage to explore in our future life.