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This is true story about a boy who, the world might say, was a terrible underachiever. While he was in junior school he failed subjects repeatedly. Senior school wasn’t much better either: he failed Latin, English and algebra. In physics he achieved a zero mark. He couldn’t even manage to fly a kite or to kick a football properly. He did manage to make it into the school golf team but he lost the most important golf match of the season, and when it came to the consolation match, he failed miserably in that too.

His uncle gave him the nickname, “Sparky” but it didn’t really seem to be suitable. It wasn’t that his colleagues disliked him; it’s just that they never really seemed to notice him much. Even a « Hello » at the beginning of school was a rarity. On one occasion Sparky queued for hours at the local cinema because the first hundred viewers would receive a free candy bar: he was the hundred-and-first. Nothing seemed to work out well for him.

Despite all the failures in his life, there was something that did hold great importance to Sparky and that was his love of drawing. Although in school the cartoons he submitted for the school magazine were rejected, he was so sure of his own artistic talent that he approached the Walt Disney Studios with his drawing samples. I wish I could say that the studio executives loved his work and immediately took him on but this was not to be the case and he was rejected again.

Despite his many lack of successes Sparky did not give up. He then decided to write his own life story in cartoons, about a little boy who was regarded as a loser and a nobody. Sparky’s real name was Charles Schulz and he was the creator of the famous Charlie Brown and Peanuts cartoon comic strip – characters who are now recognised the world over.

Sparky had every reason to give up but demonstrated a singular determination. Despite repeated failures and the pain of rejection, he knew that within him there was something special and unique. The search to find and nurture that uniqueness in each one of our students is one of the key goals of The British School of Monaco. It lies embedded in our core values and vision. As students develop within our innovative learning environment, their teachers will help them acquire new skills and knowledge that build on their innate talents and abilities – but education is more than this – they need to cope with triumph and disaster.

The nature of life will mean that their journey will not always be a smooth one: there will be times of success and moments of failure and frustration, yet failure can provide vital life lessons. With determination and the support of teachers and parents, our aim is that each one of our children develops into a reflective, resilient and adaptive learner, key skills essential to becoming a successful world citizen. It is a highly exciting prospect!