Just before half term, we completed the longlisting, shortlisting and interviews for the 2021-22 Schools' Officers, comprised of eight boys and eight girls, and the positions of Head Boy and Head Girl. Each of these positions carries significant individual responsibilities as well as an overall leadership role within the Schools.
In many cases, this was the first time I have had the opportunity to have a proper conversation with these young people. I have to say that what I read in their applications and then heard from them in interview quite blew me away.
You see, it's all very well for me to talk to parents and prospective parents about the values Dame Allan's holds dear, of our focus on the Schools as a family, where everyone matters, and as a place where endeavour and aspiration mark everything we do. But it is quite another thing to see these young people, with maturity and composure, explain and personify so well how these values matter to them, and how their teen years have been so shaped by the culture and ethos here.
In each case, as we sat down to talk, I was not surprised to read and hear about their many achievements, their involvement in various initiatives, their willingness to give of their time to help others, and the sheer breadth of their engagement in school and life beyond. It is remarkable, of course, that much of this has still been able to happen during such a disrupted year.
But what did make me catch my breath was when I asked them what Dame Allan's meant to them and how they could help to sustain and spread the Dame Allan's way for years to come. The generosity of spirit in their answers, their foresight, and the scope of their vision was not only impressive but also rather humbling for someone who remembers himself at 17 years of age.
Dame Allan's will, I can confidently say, be in safe hands next year when this new cadre of 16 young leaders takes the reins.