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The best is yet to come

The summer term has come to its normal busy conclusion with a hugely enjoyable Speech Day and Leavers’ Ball.

All the pupils have departed, and before we know where we are the school is full of small visitors on their All Sports Club course and rather larger visitors in the form of Dorset Opera, who have arrived to rehearse for their fantastic double bill of Aïda and Fidelio, which they will be performing 22-26 July. It’s what keeps us young. 

Each year there is a real tinge of sadness as well as joy when the summer term is over and we have waved farewell to the departing A2s. How shall we manage without those sterling young men and women who have been at the top of the school and supplied so much talent, not just in the classroom but also in music, sport, drama, art and so much else? 

The fact is that each year we manage because other talented young men and women step up to fill the gaping holes. And anyway, we would be a very creepy school indeed if no-one ever left. The metaphor might I suppose be of the land of the Lotus Eaters, for the Homeric and Percy Jackson fans amongst you. 

I talk a lot to the pupils about looking forward and keeping your eye upon the horizon. I vaguely remember being 17 and time did have a different quality. It seemed to go so slowly and I for one could not wait to escape school and set off to new territories. This is what I want for Bryanstonians too and I am deeply sceptical of the sort of rueful nostalgia that can infect some institutions. Indeed on Speech Day this year I urged the leavers to see their school days as NOT the best days of their lives (how ghastly, aged 18 to have lived one’s best times) because we at school wish them so much better than that. I asked this year’s leavers to remember us with affection if they want; we certainly shall them; but always to think and plan forward. 

I am allergic to the idea that anyone leaves Bryanston with a sense of entitlement. The world does not owe anyone a living; instead those who have been fortunate enough to have such a solid start in life owe their talents to this exciting world of possibilities and new adventures. Study after study reveals what we already know - that you are a happier and more fulfilled human being if you are involved with your fellow man. Or as Teddy Roosevelt put it in one of my favourite quotations: “The single most important ingredient for success in life is the ability to get on with other people”. 

Hopefully that’s just what all A2 2014 will go on to do, and I wish them all the very best of luck in their plans and ambitions. At Bryanston, we shall carry on focusing on what we think is important, in the form of a proper education, and hope that we shall see more of them soon. 

But not before I’ve spent a week up a very steep hill outside Lucca and reminded myself of reading for pleasure, not just for information. Homer beckons…..