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Primary 7 Leavers' Talk 2018


The person I want to tell you about today hadn’t heard anything about Growth Mindset.  When this person was born over 200 years ago the world didn’t know what it knows now about brain development, and how your brain continues to develop with the neurons making connections throughout your life, but more so when you continue to exercise your brain, persisting with challenging learning and putting maximum effort into it!

You are our Dunipace ‘can do’ kids and you know what you have to do to become a successful learner.

Although this person couldn’t have known anything about the scientific research into the brain that would be undertaken long after his time, he had the motivation to learn and wanted to use his learning to make sense of the world, so like you are today he was a ‘can do’ learner who knew what he wanted to achieve and had belief in himself.

Thinking about you now girls and boys, when you wake up in the morning you switch on the light. You put on clean clothes which were washed in the washing machine, and perhaps dried in the tumbler drier the day before.

You wander downstairs and open the fridge.  You take out some orange juice, maybe, or a yogurt.  You put a couple of slices of bread into the toaster.  Or maybe someone makes you some instant porridge in the microwave.

Everything you just did is only possible because of the discoveries of a scientist who lived two hundred years ago from 1791 – 1867.

If we could look inside his diary at just a few bits, it might read a little like this…..

It is 1805.  I’m 14 now, and have just left school.  I want to become an apprentice.   There is a bookbinder just up the road.  He said I could learn how to put books together, and glue the covers on, and repair books that are broken.  I wonder if he will let me read them….

The year is 1812 and my apprenticeship is at an end.  I read so many books. The books about science, in particular, were amazing!  My father’s a poor man, and he may not have been able to give me much in the way of an education, but he did take me to church.  There I learnt how God is the creator of everything, and now I hope to study this wonderful world He made.  I’ve been given a gift – someone has given me a free ticket to see the famous scientist, Humphry Davy, speak at the Royal Institution.

I have been to four lectures by Humphry Davy.  I wrote as many notes as I could and I put them together into what adds up to a 300-page book.  Today I sent it to Humphry Davy himself!  I wonder what he will think of it.  I would jump at the chance to be his assistant.  All the things I could learn, and discover for myself….

It’s now 1813 and good news!  Humphry Davy loved the notes I sent him!  I have been officially appointed as his assistant!  Praise God!  Sometimes life takes unexpected turns….

We are in France.  It’s 1814.  Our first stop on our trip around Europe.  We have met with a few scientists already, and many more meetings are planned.  There is one particular complaint I have, however.  Davy’s wife has been treating me rather harshly.  Because her husband belongs to the upper class, and I the working class, she will not let me ride in the carriage with him.  She has insisted that I sleep in the same room as the servants. All I want is to be a scientist, and learn as much as I can.  But if these people of power and influence do not respect me, how will I ever be taken seriously?  Perhaps I am being a fool, even thinking I could be a scientist…  

The year is 1815 and we are back from our trip, and I’m so glad I continued on, despite my doubts.  I have just begun a series of experiments.  If God made the universe in an orderly way, then there must be laws that make everything work – laws for us to discover….

It’s been a while.  It’s 1821 and I have discovered electromagnetic rotation.  Simply put, you can make a piece of metal rotate or spin if you pass electricity round it in just the right way…

It’s 1823.  Another discovery!  If you take certain liquids and heat them so they become gas, the containers that hold them become cold…..

Now it is 1831 and I have discovered something fascinating.  A combination of movement and magnets can create an electric current…

Electromagnetic rotation is what makes every electric motor work – like the motor in a microwave, which makes the glass plate spin!  Our person’s second discovery is the very thing that makes every refrigerator work And finally, when other scientists could only make electricity by mixing chemicals in a battery our lad had his third discovery – which is still how electricity is made that lets us turn on our lights in the morning and toast our bread!

World-changing as they were, those were only three of the things that he discovered.  As the number of his discoveries grew so did his reputation.  He wrote about his work and he talked about it too. In fact he created a series of talks in which he explained scientific ideas to young people in ways that they could easily understand.

Like Davy before him, our person became a member of both the Royal Institution and the Royal Society, in spite of the fact that he did not belong to the upper classes. (You have to wonder what Davy’s wife thought of that!)  He was also invited to join academies of science in America, Sweden, France and the Netherlands.

The fact is that the bookbinder apprentice became the most important scientist of his time.  His curiosity, love of books, and determination drove him to never give up on an experiment until he found what he was looking for.  There was one more thing that he believed made him a great scientist – his love of God and the world He’d created.


So the next time you switch on a light or open the fridge, I want you to remember Michael Faraday, the man who changed the world as he knew it.

Primary 7, just like Michael Faraday you need to have courage and determination as you step out of your comfort zone at Dunipace Primary to begin your secondary school education.  Thankfully you’ve all had opportunities to visit your new schools and meet some new teachers and classmates.

Are you brave enough to conquer your fears, to try something new, even although you may be feeling a bit nervous, perhaps your mouth is dry at the thought or your tummy turning butterflies?

Will you engage fully in all your classes, asking questions, offering answers, giving your best effort and getting those brain cells sparking and growing, or will you mess around and waste valuable time for yourself and others, or shrink under the desk frightened to answer just in case you’re wrong?  This opportunity for a good education is now, so don’t waste it, later may be too late.  Remember it could change your life choices and chances!

Will you show courage in giving a presentation to classmates and volunteer for leadership responsibilities?  Are you a Dunipace ‘can-do kid’ who will give it your best effort, remember FAIL is the first attempt in learning, so keep the kettle boiling and don’t give up, remember the story I told you about Robert the Bruce and the wee spider.

Keep going, keep persisting you are making that difference for yourself and for others.  Do you have the strength of character and courage to grasp every opportunity, to make a difference and make your dreams come true?  We are all here supporting you, family, friends, teachers, school chaplain, we are here for you, but now it is up to you to make it happen.

You need strength to seize the challenges no matter how scary it can be.  You need the determination to persist, to achieve your dreams.  You need to work hard, and strive for excellence to be the best that you can be.  Be fair and honest; remember the one person you can’t kid is yourself.  You need to gain respect, to be deserving of respect for your honesty, integrity and example.  Be an inspiration to yourself and others for the way you live your life every day.

Let it be a better world with you in it!  You’ll never forget you’re a ‘can do kid’ from Dunipace Primary – go out now and be a can do young person – be the person we all know you can be!

 We wish you all our love and good wishes for a happy and successful future!