On Tuesday evening we gathered in the Square to mark the passing of a year since the official start of the first lockdown. There is no denying that it has been an incredibly difficult and challenging year and the impact of COVID has been keenly felt within our own community.
As we stood lost in thought, we remembered families who have lost loved ones and all those who have been separated by distance. We reflected upon the loneliness and isolation felt by so many within our communities but also upon the courage and compassion of our doctors and nurses and so many other frontline workers. As I watched the various groups from the various houses assemble I felt an overwhelming sense of pride in this community. In adversity, we have not just survived but we have truly flourished. There have been moments of real joy during the last year and I doubt there has ever been a group of children who have been more inclined to express appreciation for all that they can do and so resolutely reluctant to dwell upon the frustrations and restrictions that accompany life within a global pandemic. Our pupils have been our motivation and inspiration.
Staff have worked incredibly hard to look after our children and I know that you would wish to join me in expressing our heartfelt gratitude for all those who have made Rossall such a happy place to be during the most trying of circumstances. Our teachers are amazing but our support staff, those who work in catering, housekeeping, maintenance and estates, deserve equal gratitude. Through a time of great uncertainty, their cheerful resolve has never faltered. They exemplify all that is good about our School.
We are a famously resilient community and perhaps this is partly as a consequence of our proud history but some would contend that it is also reflective of our geographical location. Suffice to say that we overcome whatever obstacles are put in our path and we are motivated by the determination to ensure the very best possible experience for all of our pupils. Truly, I know of no other school community which possesses such raw energy or such a strong sense of conviction. Similarly, I know of no other community that is so loved by parents, staff, pupils and those who have attended the school in times past. Nearly three years after arriving, I am very proud to consider myself and my family to be Rossallians. The cleverest wordsmith would struggle to put into words what it means to ‘be a Rossallian’ but it is something that many of you will instinctively feel on a visceral and/or emotional level.
A year ago I wrote (with hope) that after the storm there would be light. The storm now appears to be abating and the School is emerging from the greatest challenge it has faced since it was hurriedly evacuated to Naworth Castle in the summer of 1939. It would be naive to imagine that there will not be a few more bumps in the road but we are through the worst.
On Tuesday morning, we had a full Council meeting on Zoom. It was a meeting filled with optimism and excitement; not least because we have come so far and our plans for the future are so ambitious. The support of Council has been absolutely crucial throughout the past year and we are incredibly fortunate to be supported by those who work tirelessly on our behalf. The investment of time and energy that members of Council donate to this community is.
I hope that you have a peaceful and relaxing Easter.