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Class of 2014

by Brian Radcliffe

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)

Aims

To explore students’ sense of their achievements as a group during the past year (SEAL theme: Social skills).

Preparation and materials

  • You will need a leader and two readers.
  • As this is intended as a final assembly for the year, in the ‘Time for reflection’ part of the assembly, the Leader could give examples of celebrations, sadnesses, successes and regrets that are pertinent to the school, year group or class, as appropriate.
  • The assembly ends with a short prayer taken from The Edge of Glory: Prayers in the Celtic tradition by David Adam (SPCK, 2011).
  • Have available the song ‘Good riddance (time of your life)’ by Green Day and the means to play it at the end of the assembly.

Assembly

Leader  In this final assembly of the year, I’d like us to do a bit of time travelling. We’re going to travel forward in history to the year 2064.

As we look around us, things seem very different. We’re communicating with one another in ways we never dreamed would be possible 50 years ago. Transport systems are faster. We’re eating a dramatically different diet. We even dress differently. There are gadgets and gizmos that our present imagination can’t even begin to grasp. Maybe even time travel itself is possible.

How do I know all this? Because that’s what’s happened over the past 50 years, since 1964, and I’m absolutely sure the trend will continue.

I’m also certain, however, that one aspect of life will stay the same. What is it? In one word: nostalgia. ‘Nostalgia’ means to look back with affection to the way things were at some point in the past.

Reader 1  Your granny probably looks back with nostalgia to the 1960s and 1970s, when she was skinny enough to fit into a mini-skirt or a bikini and went on her first holiday to Spain.

Reader 2  Meanwhile, your granddad remembers when he could do a Cruyff turn, flick the football over his head and score in the top corner of the goal.

Reader 1  Your mum will also be nostalgic – maybe for the day she met your dad, when he swept her off her feet with his good looks and sense of humour.

Reader 2  Your dad might look back to his first car – the way he polished it and kept everything in top condition.

Leader As we get older, there’s a tendency with most of us to look back and remember the good times. So, in 2064, how will we look back at the Class of 2014?

You’ve spent the past year as part of a unique group of people. You’ve shared experiences, both celebrations and sadnesses, that no other group has shared in exactly the same way. There’s been chemistry between your personalities that’s resulted in some interesting relationships. Possibly some of those relationships have been difficult. There’s been conflict at times, often over situations that seem trivial as you look back. Some of you have let one another down. There may still be regrets and feelings of guilt because of this.

Equally, there are relationships that have begun or you have grown closer over the course of this year. There are shared experiences, trips enjoyed, crises solved and the discovery of interests in common. I’m sure that, in 2064, some of you will still be friends – meeting up regularly even though you’ll have spread out across the country and the world.

There have been successes and achievements, in a wide variety of ways, for the Class of 2014. Some of these have been by individuals (give an example), some by a team or performance group (give an example), maybe some by the whole class (give an example), but this is soon to come to an end. After six weeks’ holiday, many things will have changed for the Class of 2014 and then September will see the beginning of the Class of 2015!

Time for reflection

So, how can we ensure that the Class of 2014 is remembered with affection? I’d suggest that, first, we make sure there’s no unfinished business. Make this the year that things were completed. That may mean making an apology that’s been long overdue or giving a compliment you intended to. Maybe there’s an invitation to give out, an application to send off or a final target to reach. May the Class of 2014 be the one that tied up all its loose ends.

Second, may the Class of 2014 be the one that remembers. Look around you at all the faces. What do you remember about the time you’ve spent together?

Allow as long as seems appropriate for students to look around and remember.

Those memories are going to stay with you because you’ve made the effort to bring them into your mind.

May the Class of 2014 be the one that draws a circle round itself. Christians in Scotland and Ireland have a tradition of drawing an imaginary circle round a group of people in a prayer. It’s a sign of completion and protection. This one’s for you.

One final question, though, before we do that. How will you remember me in 50 years’ time?! 

Prayer
Circle me, Lord.
Keep protection near
And danger afar.

Circle me, Lord.
Keep hope within,
Keep doubt without.

Circle me, Lord.
Keep light near
And darkness afar.

Circle me, Lord.
Keep peace within
Keep evil out.
Amen.

Music

‘Good riddance (time of your life)’ by Green Day

Publication date: July 2014   (Vol.16 No.7)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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