I am writing this blog having just watched nineteen-year-old Canadian Bianca Andreescu play Serena Williams in the Women’s finals of the U.S. Open. Ms Andreescu has been, in my mind, a model of a resilience, hard-work and determination.
It is also a day after our St. Clement’s Head Girl for the 2019-2020 school year, Renéyah Brown, addressed our community with an authentic, inspiring, and thought-provoking message that also touched on the importance of determination.
Both of these events highlight the importance of powerful role models for our girls and young women.
As a girls’ school we talk about the benefit of our girls “seeing it to be it.” Seeing two strong, resilient and authentic young women over the course of the last two days remind us that despite things being challenging or uncomfortable, we can learn and grow, and continue to succeed in our own ways.
Ms Andreescu has amazed me with her mental focus, grit, and her ability to come back despite being behind. In addition, despite possessing great confidence, she has also acknowledged the learning she can continue to acquire from those around her. While her championship match against Serena Williams was historic, I have marveled at her ability over the last several matches to come back when behind.
Renéyah, our Head Girl, spoke specifically to this on Friday. She addressed us and said, “I am extremely grateful for the opportunities I have, but at the same time my life isn’t perfect. No one’s life is perfect. But the universe is going to hand you cards whether you like them or not and you just have to play the game. It’s up to all of us to make the most of our lives…People have real problems, and it’s our duty to try to ease the suffering of others, to create an environment where people can grow and learn from mistakes, to recognize what we have and to use that power to uplift those that need it.”
Whether within our own community or outside, having young women who can demonstrate and speak to being authentic, strong and resilient is very powerful. I am very grateful to them, as they have the capacity to set a tone that models the way for our girls.