Tattooing is the most misunderstood art form in Japan today. Looked down upon for centuries and rarely discussed in social circles, people with tattoos are outcasts in this country, banned from most public spaces such as beaches, bathhouses, and even gyms. Tattoos have an extensive history in Japan, and to truly understand the stigma behind them it is essential to be aware of their significance. The first records of tattoos...Read More
Yesterday is but today’s memory, and tomorrow is today’s dream. -Khalil Gibran
This week is a special one for us as a school, as it marks ten years since our arrival in Stockholm, Sweden, to begin our educational journey around the world.
As a record amount of applications pour in this year to attend THINK Global School, none of it would be possible if it weren’t for the brave fourteen souls who dared to take a chance on Joann McPike’s dream of educating students in a better way. So thank you, Alex, Alice, A’ntonia, Charis, David, Gijs, Liam, Jaden, Mark, Mavis, Megan, Pema, Piran, Willem, and Yada, for paving the way for all of our incredible students who have attended TGS over the years, and those who are yet to come.
Below you can find the first speech Joann shared during that first term in Sweden:
You young ones,
As parents all we can do is hope. Hope that you will understand the opportunity the journey you are about to take offers you. The journey to learn about the world, the people in it, the reasons why we are where we are and why we need change. We hope most of all that you get to learn about yourselves, to find out something new about yourself, a strength you doubted you had, a talent you never believed in, an ability you never dreamed of. We hope you learn how to be adaptable, courageous and curious.
There will be days it will not be easy, it will test your limits, your boundaries, your strength, but just the fact you are sitting here tonight makes me believe that you can do it. I have no doubt. I see bravery.
Throughout this adventure, the opportunities for lightness and laughter are yours to make. Never pass up an opportunity to be silly, always laugh loudly, always dance if you hear music. Please cry if you cannot hold back the tears, and hug those who are crying…. because one day you will need a hug back (100 percent guaranteed). Have empathy. Care. Because the friendships you are about to form will carry you through many ups and downs in life. The bonds you are about to create will be there forever.
We are jealous. All of us. Parents, teachers, bystanders. We are jealous of what lies in front of you, the adventure, the laughter, the excitement, the fact you are creating history. You are pioneers, your time here will be studied in the future, you are an example that things CAN and SHOULD be done differently – to the educational community, to your peers, to the world.
And with that comes a responsibility. Always tread lightly, be gentle, but speak up. THINK before you talk but don’t stay silent, have an opinion, but be strong enough to listen to someone else’s.
Do not let a certain society tell you how you are supposed to behave, make new rules! But always make sure that when you look at yourself in the mirror you are proud. Live with Integrity. Make sure that the new rules you made were made with humility and compassion and are caring and just. Try and learn what is really important in life, try and create new standards of success.
Be generous with your experiences. Do not be possessive of your school and your knowledge. Open your arms, minds and hearts to anyone who wants to be a part. Share what you are learning.
You are from many cultures and will be visiting many more, it is your diversity that makes you so special, it is your diversity that will make you think and question… it is your diversity that will give others hope. Respect that and respect each other.
Know that your teachers are not holders of all knowledge, they are your guides. They will be learning right beside you.
Ask… Be curious… Challenge them. Make them think like they will make you think.
They are not here to teach you what to think, they are here to teach you how to think.
Through all of this traveling and learning I hope you discover what makes you truly happy. It will be different for each one of you. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else and don’t judge anyone else.
I know what makes me truly happy. When I feel joy run right through my entire body – it’s when I know have changed someones life for the better, when I have made a difference. Sometimes as simple as helping someone with groceries and feeling their gratitude, so simple, so easy, paying it forward, that makes me happy.
I hope you find courage…. Courage to follow your passions.. Courage to follow your dreams…
Because dreams do come true – with a lot of hard work, a little luck and a deep belief.
This school is about you… Alex, David, Alice, Mavis, Megan, Liam, Piran, A’ntonia, Willem, Gils, Jaydon, Yada, Charis, Mark and Pema. You are the future, the world is yours
Become one… and then use that Power you create as one…
To change the world.