But I do remember the speech given by our headmistress. Two pieces of crucial advice for her girls, things that she'd found essential in her life.
Number one - never lose touch with your mother. Number two - always look after your teeth.
At the time I was somewhat scornful that she hadn't come up with something a little more inspirational, but now I can see that her words were practical, important and, it turns out, quite memorable.
They do things a little differently now. Last night was my daughter's Celebration Evening to mark the end of Y11. Some of the kids, including my daughter, haven't quite finished their GCSEs yet, and I must admit that I've been muttering quite a lot about the wisdom of scheduling an event which involved quite a bit of shopping and beautification in prime revision time. Plus quite a few of the kids will be back to the same school in September anyway, ready to start sixth form. Wasn't all this fuss a bit over the top? A bit American?
Well, when it came to it, it was fabulous. The kids looked amazing. It was like being at a red carpet event, such was the glitz and glamour, the tottering heels and the monstrous platforms. The special guest was Rolf Harris - yes, Rolf Harris! - who played the wobble board, sang Tie Me Kangeroo Down, and told them of the importance of looking people in the eye.
|Rolf and his wobble board|
Another thing we love is that it's a genuine comprehensive school, with children from all social and ethnic backgrounds. It strives to give everyone the same chance to shine, whatever their background, and that's something that's not celebrated enough in England today.
He quoted one of his personal heroes, Oprah Winfrey, someone who built a hugely successful career from a deprived and difficult childhood. A true role model. And it was such a good piece of advice that I wish my headmistress had said something similar when I was starting out. So here it is.
Do the one thing you think you cannot do. Fail at it. Try again. Do better the second time. The only people who never tumble are those who never mount the high wire. This is your moment. Own it.