I have a confession to make…
No one was more surprised than I was when I proclaimed that my New Year’s resolution was to run a half marathon. Unfortunately, I made this announcement during the first whole school assembly of the calendar year. While I knew that the children in Nursery were unlikely to remember, I was not sure whether the rest of the school would have taken a mental note of this specific detail. Could I get out of this? Not a chance!
Freddie caught me in the corridor that afternoon,
So Mrs Baber, which half marathon are you running?
While I was thrilled that Freddie had clearly been listening attentively during the assembly, I knew I had to follow my words with actions and sign myself up for a half marathon pronto.
So, I now find myself running the Reading Half Marathon in April. I have to admit that training is not going as well as I would like. Muddy, wet, cold runs at 5.30am are a real challenge. I have considered pulling out, but this resolution comes with responsibilities. I have to set an example to our pupils. Most obviously, I have to train and prepare in a way that models resilience and perseverance.
Just as importantly, I have a responsibility to the two charities that I will be running for, The Kings Arms and Highfield Centenary Bursaries Fund.
When I have talked about the Centenary Bursaries Fund previously, I have always related it to the children I have taught throughout my career. However, this charity has a far more personal appeal to me. I have the privilege of having had my life transformed by a bursary to one of the top independent schools in the country. My time at that school changed my life. Not only did if offer me an amazing education and a breadth of experiences that are simply not available elsewhere, but it developed my belief in myself in ways that still surprise me today.
Boarding school gave me the feeling of a steady ‘home’ with friends and staff who knew me and cared for me. It provided me with a place of belonging and a community that, as the daughter of a naval officer who was always on move, was impossible to achieve away from school.
More than this, the opportunities provided by my bursary changed my aspirations and my understanding of how to succeed. It was not talent that enabled me to earn a bursary. I was not awarded a sport, art, music or academic scholarship. However, through observing my peers, the school taught me that natural talent did not equate to automatic success, nor were parents able to clear obstacles for their children. Instead, I learnt that hard work, perseverance and fortitude were key to determining real achievement. This understanding has enabled me to do the job I do today.
Our Bursaries Fund changes the lives of children in just the same fashion. Therefore, I will continue to get up at 5.30am to train, in order that I can pound the pavements of Reading come rain, sleet, snow or howling gale. With each step along the way, I will remind myself that, with your help, this challenge will change the life of some young child like me, all those years ago. As painful as the run might be, it is a privilege.
Your donations would be greatly appreciated and ease the training pain.