Congratulations, everyone, you’ve made it.
After all the years of work and effort, all the many hours spent hunched over your desks, all the homework, after all of that, you’re finishing school this summer and you deserve every praise and celebration possible. Because, let’s face it, this a final year like no other. Your last months of school have coincided with the greatest crisis our country has faced since the Second World War.
And so the first thing I want to say is thank you. Thank you for the incredible effort you’ve put into doing the right thing over the past weeks and months. It was your education that was disrupted, your lives that were disrupted. And now, as many of you are missing out once again on parties and festivals, presentations, perhaps even long-planned holidays, I want you to know that your efforts have been worth it. Because of you, because of your sacrifice, we’ve saved hundreds of thousands of lives. And that’s not something many generations will be able to say about their final weeks at school – not your elder siblings, certainly not your parents.
In fact, one day, many years from now, people are going to look back, and they are going to ask you what it was like to live through the lockdown. And while you might not have tales of a lost summer of music festivals and house parties, you will be able to talk with pride not just of the lives you helped save but of the country you helped rebuild.
Because while this stage of your life, this very important stage of your life, is drawing to a close, the really exciting bit is yet to come. These past years, your brilliant teachers have equipped you with the skills you need to change the world and now you have the opportunity to do so. Because as we face the challenge of reopening our society, cautiously, carefully, we have an incredible opportunity to do things differently, to build back better not just for the next few months but for years and decades to come. Your generation that came of age and perhaps had to grow up a bit faster during this pandemic, your generation are going to be so, so vital to that national effort to rebuild because we’re going to need bright, brilliant young people like you. And that strength of character, the…the qualities that you forged during the lockdown – empathy, resilience, self-discipline, patience – those are qualities we’re going to need now as we make our society fairer, make our air cleaner, stop our planet getting warmer. And those are qualities that are going to carry you forwards and upwards and make you one of the most important and influential generations in the peacetime history of our nation.
Your journey forward will not always be easy. There are always going to be people who want to pour a bucket of cold water on your ideas; people who like to sit on the sidelines, criticise, sometimes with good cause, sometimes for the sake of criticizing, and of course, you may make some mistakes. But the important thing is to get out there, to keep picking yourself up, to keep trying again and again, and as our greatest leader may or may not have said once, never, never, never give in. Jump on every opportunity that comes your way, rugby tackle that opportunity to the floor, bring enthusiasm, energy to everything that you do. Be that friend, that team member, who is always there to lend someone else a helping hand. Take the time to ask others how they’re doing. Be kind to all those around you.
And when you look around, look for the good. Because while this crisis has brought great grief and sadness to many homes across the country, there’ve been many brilliant and determined people who have also shown this country at its…at its best. The incredible willingness of all those who put up their hands to help out and volunteer, the British companies that leapt into action to help out and build the…the ventilators, scientists working flat out on possible treatments and vaccines, and the way so many incredible people kept out country going throughout the pandemic.
Your generation has come of age facing a challenge like no other generation before you. And just as previous generations have had their own missions: the wartime generation that rebuilt Britain in the 1950s, those who fought for greater rights and equality in the 1960s and 70s. Your mission will be to make your way in the world, as we build back a better, fairer Britain.
I know this year hasn’t ended the way you wanted it to and I know you’ll never get back the past few months or enjoy the experiences that you hoped to, but I promise you it has been worth it. And I can’t wait to see the great new world that you’re going to help us build.
珍藏版 | 小岳岳的经典现场