Outside my window at school is a dried up shrub with long spindly brown twigs which masquerade as branches. When I started at OHS in January I could only see it for a few hours a day in between the ‘gloaming’ of dawn at around 10am and the falling of dusk at around 3pm. Or so it’s been for the last three months. This week, those twigged spindles have flowered, beautifully, with creamy, pink flushed magnolia bowls – fresh, exquisite and unique – every one of them. An appropriate metaphor for our slow but sure return to normality, I think, of which open gates is the first part. The early morning routines, the packing of bags, the retrieval of school uniform – all these are the first steps on a path which, we hope, will lead to physical community and being together again and are, in their own way, those first signs of the Summer to come.
But this time of dormancy has been a useful time too. A time of examination and introspection and a renewed appreciation of the joy of community, of kindness and of learning. It has also been a time, ironically, where so many have refreshed their learning of a forgotten skill or explored a new one. I say ironically because we have heard more about qualifications and grades than ever before and it has just reinforced for me the importance of a genuinely liberal, wide ranging and inspiring education where the excitement and passion of young minds, tempered by debate and ideas are prepared ready to imbue the world with the next generation of global improvers. Despite facing new challenges, whether on the streets or in the news, OHS (and your daughters) continue to rise and engage with them, whether it is their safety and that of others wherever they are, the existential threat of climate change, opinionated and energetic debate on the appropriacy of a portrait in our reception or respectful, humble silence in memory of all those we have lost.
Truly, OHS is an extraordinary school and it is a privilege to be a part of it. Thank you to you all for your part in our continued strength of purpose whether a dedicated member of staff, a supportive parent or carer, a passionate and kind pupil or a supportive and kind friend. OHS is a place for all of us and I can’t wait to greet you all again at the start of the Summer term.
Marina Gardiner Legge