Newington College

A reflection on 2021 from Senior Prefect Aiden Carter

A reflection on 2021 from Senior Prefect Aiden Carter

At our 2021 Prize Giving, 2022 Senior Prefect Aiden Carter reflected on the ups and downs we’ve faced as a global and school community.

Below is a transcript of his speech.

It’s been another crazy year. One of lockdowns, uncertainties and conspiracy theories. It is tempting to think of 2021 as simply COVID, but this misses the big picture.

So, what’s happened this year?

For starters, the United Nations declared 2021 as the International Year of Peace and Trust. It was also the year that we were enthralled by the Olympics in Tokyo and awed by Ash Barty’s win at Wimbledon.

The Perseverance Rover landed on Mars, COP26 gave us hope for international climate action and a container ship blocked – and then unblocked – the Suez Canal.

So, it’s been an ok year. Actually, it’s been a great year. And we all have people in our lives who have helped us navigate it.

First of all our teachers. While we boys may think it was a tough year for us, think of our teachers who have been kind, innovative, encouraging and flexible. They have shown enormous stores of energy and goodwill. You have been amazing. We all thank you.

To our parents. You may not have been driving us to school everyday, but you did have to put up with us 24/7. You have been our cheerleaders, our personal trainers and our hairdressers. Thank you.

Finally, to our mates. Thank you. We have gotten each other through 2021. The late night phone calls, Zooms and facetimes have given support and life to so many of us.

From the sourdough bakers to the people doing their maths class on the beach, we’ve gotten through this year together. Thank you.

So, we have so much to be grateful for this year. In the rollercoaster that was 2021, it can be difficult to keep track of the things that have gone well; the memories forged outside of lockdown, the events, sporting matches and performances.

Now, you might feel like you’ve heard it all before, but I wanted to share some thoughts on gratitude. There is constantly more and more research that shows that both expressing and receiving gratitude is really good for us.

Gratitude rewires our brains and is known to cause changes in neurotransmitters and hormones as well as activating neural pathways that aid in cognitively reframing and restructuring negative thoughts. It builds resilience and structures positive emotions.

So why am I telling you this?

This year has been difficult for all of us. But, we all have people to be grateful for. So, take the time to thank them.

Work out what you’re grateful for.

This year, I’ve realised that I’m grateful for the little things in life. From enjoying walks outside to watching way too much Netflix, the little things in life is what has made this year so enjoyable and has allowed me to strive for my best.

So, over the break, remember and recollect the good parts of 2021, and let’s all strive for a great 2022.

I hope you all have an enjoyable and relaxing holiday.

Thank you.