A Grandparent’s Journey

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We’ve been watching Chelsea prepare for her HSC in this year where COVID-19 challenged our norm.

I feel deeply blessed and privileged to be around our next generation and to watch them grow up. Like many families, we were able to manage the highs and lows of this year with each other’s support.

We want to congratulate our granddaughter, Chelsea for having reached this final stage of her school life. I remember the day she started kindergarten at St Declans in Penshurts, as a shy 5-year-old.

Chelsea’s first day of Kindergarten St Declans Penshurst.

These past weeks she has been in the throes of HSC trials. I’ve had pick-up duties after exams, where I nodded in the right places while she dissected short and long answer questions. I’ve read, with pride, her Personal Investigation Project (PIP) on filial piety and how she relates it to her own micro world. We are in safe hands.

Her room and desk have become her playground. Here she is checked on by her grandfather, Chris, fed by her Mum, Sasha, comforted by Marley at her feet and her sister Charlotte’s giggles offer relief from the pressures of the HSC.

Chelsea after her graduation from St Declans at Penhurst.

 

It’s where I hear intricate analysis between her and her online maths tutor. All those numbers attached to the alphabet make my head spin!

Chelsea, we know the extra pressure you have been feeling over the lockdown period and how this has impacted your preparation. You and your friends have faced challenges unlike any other Year 12 cohort. However with your determination, and the unfailing support of your teachers, you have done well in staying on track.

Your teachers have done a remarkable job in keeping you focused, particularly on your projects. At the start of COVID, your Visual Arts project was carefully transported from your arts department to your bedroom. This meant that you could not hide Charlotte’s surprise, images of her in drawn in charcoal.

For you and your friends there will be no final celebratory send off, and no family clapping hands and looking on with pride as you walk up to graduate. We will instead watch it on a screen and of course, will cheer and clap for you and celebrate when you get home.

This is your Rite of Passage but this year, it’s one with a difference.

Chelsea ready for her first Day of Year 7 at Bethany College

You’ve talked about structuring your English answers within the time limits, so do take the time to revise but don’t stress too much. Over these last few weeks, I encourage you, as you have been doing, to use your time wisely. And, don’t be afraid to ask for help and direction because your dedicated teachers are ready to guide you.

I know you are eating well, I’ve seen the secret ice cream helpings, washed down with a health drink and healthy snacks. Marley is getting her walks and your exercise coach pushes the boundaries and hopefully you are getting enough sleep because that is key to your concentration level.

I know, as the end of your final term draws closer, you and your friends will be reflecting on your memories and great friendships formed at Bethany. Those surprise parties, camps and carnivals, excursions, the sleepovers and outdoing each other’s gift ideas will remain part of the class of 2020’s memories.

You are our pride and joy, Chelsea, so be proud of all you have achieved and always remember that the world awaits your contribution with great excitement. While this year has been challenging, don’t lose hope, continue to dream and keep the faith.

We see you. We believe in you. Trust in your ability, back yourself and as always give it your best. God Bless. We love you.

Beryl Crosher-Segers is the author of the bestselling A Darker Shade of Pale: a memoir of apartheid South African about life during apartheid.

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