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End of Year Celebrations

22 June 2022

Celebrations abound; taken from Principal Ms. Nicola Dudley's End of Year Speech as the first cohort under her leadership graduate from Surval in its 60th Anniversary year

This past week, our end of year at Surval culminated in a day of celebrations: the graduation of our Grade 12s; the achievements and hard work of our prizewinners and all our girls this year; this academic year at Surval and everything that it has brought; the Surval community from across the world; and the 60th anniversary of Surval, its history and legacy and everything that has come together to be the school it is today and everything we can look forward to in the school’s future.


Looking back on 2021-22, last August seems just yesterday and yet so much has passed in between. What an enriching, challenging, rewarding year it has been, in equal measure. As a new principal this year at Surval, I for one have experienced everything that makes Surval special for the first time with genuine delight and pleasure.  We have gone from COVID restrictions, isolation, uncertainty and unpredictability to treasured freedom, and will never again take for granted the freedom to travel and meet face to face.  Many of our girls joined Surval in August having been online for a considerable amount of time and had to adapt not only to a new country, culture and language but also re-adapt to being back in a school routine of face to face lessons.  


Each term at Surval has a distinct character and colour, leaving girls with a true kaleidoscope of colourful memories and experiences which will stay with them for life.  From the warmth of the autumn colours when they made Surval their home away from home and settled into new friendships, new routines, and explored Switzerland, culminating with the magic and sparkle of Christmas at Surval, albeit slightly disrupted this year with pandemic travel uncertainty.  Followed by the Winter Term, characterised by blue skies and snow-capped mountains, and plenty of fun and challenge on the slopes with an amazing tour of Swiss Alpine resorts. And onto seemingly endless days of shimmering lake views and incredible sunsets of the Spring Term, albeit tempered with exams and assessments, with our first cohort of Advanced Placement students sitting external examinations, A Level exams and students working towards their DELF exams, culminating in an excellent set of DELF exam results.  Over the year they have travelled and embraced the spirit of adventure and exploration. 


The girls have grown and flourished during the year, and been enriched and challenged by their experiences.   Each will have a unique and individual story to tell of their time at Surval.  And their Surval story will form part of the rich, colourful tapestry which will become their life story and shape and inform their future pathways.  Maybe they won’t immediately be aware of the full impact of their Surval experience and education, and maybe not until much later in life, but they will come to recognise the impact it has had on their development as an individual and in the future choices they make.  A Surval education has sown seeds, which will grow. 


The Surval community is what makes a Surval experience so special.  The strength of friendships is, I know, what so many of our girls value most highly from their time here and one of my pleasures this year has been meeting Survaliennes from across the school’s 60 years and hearing their stories of how Surval has had a positive influence and impact on them and the importance of the lessons they learned at Surval.  When we heard from a few of our loyal Survaliennes through our Inspiring Women Speaker series last term, I challenged our girls to think ahead to what they might say to future Survaliennes. In coming to Surval our girls have joined a global Surval network and, for those leaving us this year,  I hope they will keep in touch - maybe some of them will even come back to us in future years - and continue to strengthen the Surval community for years to come. 


It is a privilege to be Principal of Surval, to be building on the school’s legacy and to be shaping its future to ensure it continues to provide an exceptional education for young women which enables them to flourish and go out into tomorrow’s world ready to face the challenges of a fast-changing society, confident in their ability to step up and to own their voice.  I am looking forward to the years ahead with genuine excitement.


And now, to our graduates; the world is your oyster and your life pathway will take twists and turns that you can never imagine now. Life is an adventure.   I was thinking, ‘if I could tell them just one thing’ as they leave the safe harbour of Surval, what would it be?  And so I turned to one of my favourite authors - 19th-century pioneering female author Jane Austen whose often witty, direct and oh so true comments remain ever relevant.  Austen wrote, ‘We all have our best guides within us if only we would listen.’


So to our girls on graduation and in their future endeavours:

Follow your heart, go with your gut instinct.  If it feels right, give it a go.  If it feels wrong, it probably is. You will each follow individual pathways.  I look forward to hearing where life’s journey takes you, and what pathways and detours you may take.  The path will be smooth at times, at others times it will be rocky, it will go up and down, but remember challenges lead to opportunities. Work hard, play hard, be kind to yourself and others and embrace opportunities - I wish all our girls the very best of luck!  


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