This week the Cambridge Dictionary announced their word of the year for 2021: Perseverance.
Perseverance is defined as “continued effort to do or achieve something, even when this is difficult or takes a long time.” It seems to capture the spirit of our time: our determination to overcome the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, our commitment to battle against climate change, and to heal the divisions in our society. None of these issues have easy or quick solutions, but we know that the reward will be worth the effort.
The Cambridge Dictionary was alerted to the currency of “perseverance” in 2021 because people looked it up over 243,000 times. 30,487 of these searches were between February 18 and February 24, after NASA’s Perseverance Rover landed on Mars on February 18. The rover, like Curiosity before it, captures the distinctly human spirit of achieving the apparently impossible: landing a car-sized robot on a planet 380 million kilometres away, and driving it around on the surface. As if that wasn’t enough, Perseverance deployed a tiny helicopter on the surface, which flies around in the Martian atmosphere. It’s called – appropriately enough – Ingenuity.
We can’t help but be inspired by the achievements of the NASA team behind Perseverance and Ingenuity. Although our personal challenges may be more modest than flying a helicopter on the surface of Mars, they are no less worthy or worthwhile. Becoming the best people we can be is not a short or simple task. It takes commitment, effort and time. It requires a “never give up” spirit. This is something we pride ourselves on at Churchill Academy & Sixth Form. It’s why our vision is “to set no limits on what we can achieve.” Because – if we persevere – we can accomplish incredible things.