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High Hopes

Aiming for something greater

by Helen Gwynne-Kinsey

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)


To encourage us to consider the importance of setting and working towards ambitious personal goals.

Preparation and materials


  1. It’s a long time ago now, and I don’t expect that any of you would admit it, but I bet that when you were small, maybe some of your happiest times were the days when you could go out dressed as a superhero or your favourite Disney character. There’s definitely a joy in being able to escape into an imaginary world where you feel that you have the power to become something else and can do anything you want to.

  2. As we mature, our role models change, and we start to take notice of real people from the worlds of sport, music and film, for example. However, then the doubts start to creep in, and we may feel that we can never achieve the things that our heroes have accomplished. It’s helpful to remember that these people didn’t just become famous overnight; in fact, they had to work their way to the top while doing other things along the way.

  3. Let’s have a go at a quiz. Can you guess what some of these celebrities did before they were famous?

    Play the BBC Bitesize quiz ‘Can you guess these celebs’ jobs before they were famous?’

  4. I’d like to share a song with you now, because its lyrics tell us a great deal about ambition.

    Show the YouTube video ‘Panic! At the Disco - High Hopes’. You may wish to show the lyrics too.

  5. What is this song about? In an interview with Billboard magazine, the band’s frontman, Brendon Urie, explained, ‘As a kid, I thought I would never make it. I only had dreams and fantasies of being a rock star, making cardboard cut-outs of a guitar, standing in front of my mirror just dreaming of the day.’ However, he had some wise advice from his mother. In the words of the song: ‘Fulfil the prophecy / Be something greater / Go make a legacy . . . / Rewrite your history’.

    Urie concluded by saying, ‘I failed and tried again, but I felt much more happy once I accomplished it – the reward is much greater once you challenge yourself thoroughly.’

Time for reflection

Ask the students to reflect upon these statements.

- Desire and determination are needed in order to achieve success.

Pause to allow time for thought.

- Set your own personal goals and work hard towards achieving them.

Pause to allow time for thought.

- Don’t be intimidated by the success of others, but use it as a spur to drive you on to greater things.

Pause to allow time for thought.

Dear God,
We pray for wisdom to make the right choices for our lives ahead.
We pray for the commitment needed to achieve our goals.
We pray that we will always treat others fairly as we make our way in life.
We pray that we will be able to make a positive contribution to the wider world.


‘High hopes’ by Panic! at the Disco, available at: (3.16 minutes long)

Publication date: June 2021   (Vol.23 No.6)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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