Arianna, a current Year 11 student at Senior School Voorschoten,  was nominated by her Form Tutor to deliver a speech on ‘Making a Difference’. Her address speaks to her contribution to the character and community of the school, her personal growth during her 13 years at The British School, and her reflections on the impact each of us can have. 

My tutor asked me to write a speech, probably because I have a loud voice or because I never stop talking.

I was given the topic of making a difference, and honestly, I wasn’t sure where I could start. I researched online and watched many videos—titles such as: ‘Making a Difference’ and ‘How to Make a Change’. The most common top tips are to smile at people in the corridor, hold doors open for people or give a stranger directions.

Arianna and her friends

I’m not saying that these small actions aren’t effective because they are. Part of making a difference is making other people’s day better by being kind. But the importance of making a difference within yourself isn’t mentioned as often.

Getting older has its responsibilities, which become increasingly clear as you start making big, important decisions. This is the time to make large steps with self-development by acknowledging the personal differences that only you can make. However, especially as exams come closer, it is so easy to get stuck and become demotivated. You may wonder, “What is the point of trying to make a difference when it might not even be successful.”

Differences and changes in life are inevitable, so instead of sitting back and spectating as they happen, take charge and control. Make your own differences and leave your mark.

When Ms. van Tilburg told me about this speech, I went to my friends, telling them that I didn’t know how I could possibly write about making a difference when I don’t think I have made a significant one myself.

But, in the past couple of weeks, I have realised that you are never too small to make a difference; everyone does, simply by existing. It might sound minor, but just the fact that you are here and living has impacted and made a difference in so many lives.

So, I guess I have made a significant difference. All of you have too. We have all been given a great opportunity to write our futures, and I am not willing to waste it. It’s the small personal differences you make along the way that will shape who you will become.

It has finally hit me that after 13 years in the BSN, I only have two left, and how some people in the audience only have a couple of months until they graduate.

This is the time to start taking action. It’s never too late to get involved and make a difference for your own and other people’s happiness. It’s never too late to be the person you have always wanted to become.

‘Character and Community’ are core to The British School in The Netherlands’ mission as stated:

We celebrate our diverse international community, helping students to develop a sense of pride, confidence and compassion and encouraging them to challenge themselves, build their resilience and play their part in improving society.


Arianna will be entering the Sixth Form at Senior School Voorschoten in September. Joining the BSN in Foundation 1, Arianna has been at the school for 13 years. She enjoys History and Design Technology and hopes to pursue a law career in the future.

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