Upon contemplation, I began to consider the final moments of the young people who suffered. No doubt they were an unforgettable few hours surrounded by cherished family, friends and peers. They sang, danced, laughed and smiled. Ariana Grande represents positivity, joy and innocence. Despite this week, I hope she continues to do so. We all have our favourite artists from our teenage years. For me it was Radiohead and the Foo Fighters, for Mr Finn, it was the Spice Girls. Listening and watching these people made us happy – which is the essential ingredient of being young.
As a school community, we are in a powerful position to ensure that our young people are happy. Their well-being must always be paramount.
Many of you would drive past a trademark ATC image every afternoon: Caution – Boys Being Boys. Although a road safety sign, its message can be contextualised to our approach to young people. Let them enjoy the fruits of your hard work, let them be relatively carefree, let them dream. This is not a mantra or excuse for a lack of accountability on the boys’ part, but moreover an opportunity for them to be young in heart, soul and mind. There is a wide world waiting for them outside your home and our school gates– sometimes it is dark and negative – so let’s embrace and encourage their enthusiasm, exuberance and unconditional love while we can.
Poignantly, Ariana Grande’s greatest hit – and one of her final songs in Manchester – is Break Free. It encourages people to forget their worries – to break free – as in doing so they’ll ‘be stronger than they’ve been before.’ By letting our boys be young and foolish, we are allowing them to one day become old and wise. Let’s inspire a world of laughter, love and compassion.
Matt Warr, Assistant Dean of Formation