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By Kate Silber, Nexus ICA Co-Founder.

It’s been a turbulent summer for education.

Only a couple of weeks ago we had results days and their impact, U-turns, protests, and many people upset about the numbers and letters that were assigned to them. Marks, results and grades have the possibility of being life-defining.

Our own graduating students at Nexus ICA received their results and their degree classification this summer. They all received a mark but what is more; they all left a mark. They will be remembered not for their final grade but for their contribution. They will be remembered for their character and personality. Their willingness to carry on for the sake of others. Their willingness to serve on one of our teams. Their desire to see their peers succeed. Their tough questions, their soul searching, the atmosphere they brought to classes, their long hours of practice, how they stood up for a friend, how they did not give up even when it seemed circumstances were stacked against them.

As I write, I am not drawing on a list of good qualities, I am thinking about real students whose journeys overlapped with mine for a short time and whose contribution will be felt for many years to come. The decisions and choices they made will pave the way for others; the atmosphere they took time to create will linger with us long after they have moved onto new things.

They all received a mark but what is more; they all left a mark

2020 Graduating Class. Picture taken in 2019.

I have discovered that being intentional about the mark I am leaving is much more rewarding than leaving a mark that I did not intend. In any situation of life, there are people who share my context, people who have the opportunity to be impacted by my words and actions whether we share a brief interchange, or we live in each other’s pockets. My words and choices create an atmosphere from which others can draw life. My words and choices tell others more about me than what I write or the grades I have received. And ultimately they point to a the place from which I draw my life; the ways and life of Jesus Christ.

Psalm 19 sets an incredible scene of the glory of God and His universe-wide impact and majesty. Incredibly, it starts with this verse:

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands

Psalm 19:1 (NIV)

and ends with this one:

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Psalm 19:14 (NIV)

In all of the glory of creation, in all of the perfection of the Word of God and the beauty of His commands there is still that personal response that God sees, and that is an inextricable part of God’s work. The Psalmist is aware of his great responsibility, but also the source of his great help. In the context of such beauty I become aware of the mark I am leaving and want it to be ‘pleasing’ to my God, whom I love.

Less than a month ago we were living in the confusion that results days caused. Now we are rushing towards a new year, a new start, a new experience in Education. New exams, new grades and a new opportunity to leave a mark that those around you will never forget. Consider the glorious God of Psalm 19 who is your help and your guide. Take a breath and remember that the mark you leave is more important than the mark you gain.

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