It was the last assembly today for our current principal, who is retiring after a long successful career in teaching & 15 years as the head of our school. There are not many principals that stand out in all weathers to greet the students & shake their hand. He knows each & everyone of the students by name, which grade they are in, who their siblings are (even if they were not at the same school), & of course the parents too. Although we have only known him for the last 3 years, we are still sad to see him go. We had tried for a couple of years to get our elder son into the school but spaces were competitive. For the first year that my younger son attended the junior kindergarten, his elder brother remained at the local school in our old neighbourhood. Every day we walked my younger son into school, my elder son would still shake the hand of the principal. It was very obvious he didn’t attend that school because they wear a uniform & his school did not. It mattered not, he was welcomed like every other student, & was also bid a good day when we left to then drop him at school. He did that for one year.
During that school year he was fortunate to be offered a place for the following school year, & I still remember walking up the street towards the principal (who was stood outside the senior school) on that first day of the new school year. He didn’t receive my elder son with just a handshake, no, he welcomed him with open arms, addressing him by name & declaring how pleased he was to finally have him aboard – that hug, at that moment, gave my son the identity he had been missing at his old school. After the first week of school you would never have believed he’d attended anywhere else.
Both my boys love school. I can’t recall an occasion, at this school, when they have not wanted to go to school. The structured learning environment in which my boys are thriving in has great teachers, but they require good leadership that is constructive & positive. That leader sat today with tears in his eyes, not afraid to express his emotions in front of hundreds of people who have had the privilege of being a part of his legacy. He has left his mark not only within the bricks & mortar, but also on the hearts of thousands of families. We might have said farewell to him as principal, but he will remain an inspiring influence to families & students past & present.