Woodstock | Farewell from Dr Long
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Farewell from Dr Long

06 Jun Farewell from Dr Long

Dear Alumni and Friends,

Two weeks ago our seniors graduated and left Woodstock.  They have come a long way and reached the end of a journey – their school days are over and now new journeys and new destinations await!  “God turns all our sunsets into sunrises,” wrote St Clement, the 3rd century teacher of the early Christian church – reminding us that every goodbye is also a beginning.  In the weeks and months ahead, I very much hope our recent graduates will find the sadness of farewell replaced by the excitement of new opportunity!

In a few days’ time, I leave Woodstock too.  It has been an honour to lead this great school over the past 8 years.  As with all earthly utopias, Woodstock has its quirks and tensions, its odd mix of magical ideal and murky reality.  But no challenge has ever so fully engaged my imagination and allowed me to find delight in the things that really count.  I have been blessed in finding great happiness here. Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love, wrote the 13th century mystic poet, Rumi.  I have felt the quiet power of that pull in my time as Principal.

My task has been to help young people find their ‘grand passion’ in life, that ‘one thing’ which is, alone, worth living and striving for.  Like many Woodstock graduates, I have found things of enduring value here and they have shaped my sense of that ‘one thing’ besides which all else is trivial.  Therefore, I feel I am graduating from Woodstock rather than leaving – and there is quite a difference between the two!

In recent years, Woodstock has defined an inspiring educational philosophy and a compelling vision.  The school has become an increasingly dynamic and inclusive community and a place in which young people experience a transformative education. Our students acquire values which will serve them well throughout their lives, they learn what it is to be global citizens and they aspire to be agents of change.  Our public exam results and university placements are stronger than ever and we are now a proud IB World school accredited by the Council of International Schools.

The next chapter at Woodstock will include the major renovation of classrooms and facilities across the campus.  This has already begun, and students have already experienced the benefits.  Over the next 18-24 months, a new Science facility will rise from the remains of Tehri View and the Centre for Imagination will be proudly located in an iconic new building.

My successor, Dr Craig Cook and his wife, Jamie, will arrive here in mid-July.  It’s a pleasure to hand the baton of leadership over to Dr Cook and to wish him well. I hope you will have an opportunity to meet the Cooks in the weeks and months ahead and I know they will enjoy meeting you too!  Woodstock is in good shape and under Dr Cook’s able leadership I believe the future will be bright!

Mrs Long joins me in bidding you a fond farewell.  Woodstock’s alumni community has always found a special place in our hearts.  We have loved your vibrancy, loyalty, authenticity and the warmth of welcome which greeted our arrival 8 years ago.  We will miss you.

With all good wishes and with my gratitude to all of you for your kindness, support and friendship over the years.

Dr Long

5 Comments
  • Kenneth D. Stephens
    Posted at 22:02h, 13 June Reply

    I enjoyed your article & have always enjoyed the things you wrote while you were at Woodstock. I loved the quotes, the reflections on education & on your experience there, and your general thoughts on your own life and future. I read them in part because they benefited my own writing. You don’t remember me but I met you when you were visiting here in Irvine California. I was in Ridgewood for 5 years starting in 1945. I wish you Namaste and Farewell as you depart. Are you heading for another job somewhere in the UK? In the US? Do let me know. Ken Stephens

  • Charlotte Heath Fraser
    Posted at 05:03h, 14 June Reply

    I am a member of the class of 1962. Several years ago, my late husband and I traveled to India, Mussoorie/Landour, and to Woodstock School. We stayed at Wolf’s Burn, and La Villa Bethany. We got to know the hosts of both places, and it felt like home. I am still in touch with them.. We were there 2 different times, and the memories of attending Woodstock were profound. Imagine, how I must have felt walking underneath the gate and into the quad. I don’t know that there are words to express, except it felt like no time had passed. I remember meeting you at two events, and it was indeed a pleasure. I also heard from so many people on the hillside how pleased they were that you were the principal at Woodstock. I am still in contact with members of the class of 1962 which is lovely. I thank you, and your wife, for all that you brought to Woodstock and the hillside. I wish you a wonderful new adventure.

  • Ravinder kumar
    Posted at 18:48h, 17 June Reply

    Really i dont have words to express the beauty of the school.. Basically i belong to rural belt of the country but whenever i got the chance to have a discussion with the teacers of woodstock during my visit to landour. I got really an immense pleasure to know the nature and efforts by Mr john it was really superb. Being as an indian i am really thankful to you and your wife whatever you did for woodstock. Thanks a lot

  • ravinder
    Posted at 18:53h, 17 June Reply

    really thankful to you

  • COL ARUN KUMAR BANSAL
    Posted at 18:23h, 02 July Reply

    I wish you & mrs long happy & meaning ful future assignments,, wherever & whatever you take up.Your focoused & dynamic approach to take the task in hand is unquestionable..All the best

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