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.