Tasked with the weighty burden of providing the opening to this newsletter, celebrating the graduation of the Dwight School London’s class of 2021, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to indulge you in one of my favourite literary quotations:
“For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning."
Taken from T.S. Eliot’s The Four Quartets, it is, in my mind, a pertinent summation of both the tumultuous two years the D2 students have endured, as well as reflecting the sense of opportunity their graduation brings. This has been two years of tumult, from the change to online learning, remote assessments, return to classrooms, more lockdowns, one-way systems, mask-wearing… I could go on. Within my decade and a bit in education, I cannot think of a graduating cohort that has endured so much change.
I remember back in the halcyon days of September 2019, having a robust conversation with the Class of 2021 at the time, discussing Diploma dress guidelines. Who would have thought, only 12 months later, the humble mask would become a vital and integral part of everyone’s daily dress code?
Nonetheless, amongst the fluctuating changes of government guidelines, lockdowns, remote learning, preparation for exams (swiftly followed by the cancellation of exams), the Class of 2021 has dealt with these manifold challenges with a remarkable degree of stoicism, optimism and fortitude. Understandably, there have been difficulties along the way and I would like to pay tribute to the lucid honesty that many of the D2s provided, offering pathways for Dwight to reflect upon our educational provision in a time that was, to use that overused-word, unprecedented.
However, upon their graduation, as the D2s begin to stretch their fledgling wings into their future, it has been an honour guiding these young adults over the course of the last two years. For all the dropped internet connections, socially distanced classrooms and bewildering assessment changes, there has been stoic smiles, courageous energy and excitement about the possibility of the future. You shall be much missed in the environs of Friern Barnet, but we look forward to hearing about the successes your futures will hold.
Congratulations to the Graduating Class of 2021!