I can’t quite believe that this is my third year at BGS; it has all gone so quickly. And for those students who will be accepting places with us soon and those moving up from the Junior School to the Senior School, I want to reassure you that it will be the same for you. Any nervous feelings you may have at the start will soon disappear and all too quickly you will be wondering where the time has gone. That is what life at BGS is like; it is so busy with daily routines, exciting lessons, a myriad of co-curricular activities and so many wonderful events that time passes before you know it.
I have been talking with the Year 6s recently about their transition to the Senior School and asked them to tell me an interesting fact about themselves. Many mentioned their favourite subjects or sports or that they love art or dancing. An equal number mentioned their pets or some of the exciting places they have lived before. This got me thinking about my journey here. When I joined BGS, we were still in the middle of the pandemic and we travelled halfway around the world from Hong Kong to become part of this wonderful community in the summer of 2020. You may recall that this time in 2021, we were back in lockdown and in order to help keep our community together I introduced one of our youngest members…our family dog, Malteser, who was a cute and slightly naughty chocolate Labrador pup back then. He was carefully guarding the school for the students whilst they weren’t able to be here themselves.
Thankfully students are able to be here all the time now, which Malteser has become accustomed to after a quiet start. However, I understand that students in DT still look out for him as he barks at pigeons on the roof. The Year 6s were curious for an update from him as he was the star of his own interview in 2021 and it led to an outpouring of photographs of our well loved pets. We got to spend so much time with them then and no doubt they were a huge solace to us when we couldn’t be with our friends and colleagues. So for those of you who were curious what has happened to Malteser, he has grown from that tiny little puppy to a whopping 35 kilogram, strong and energetic dog. He is still naughty and will steal socks whenever he can, but is the most loving and kind family pet we could wish for, who has comforted us when we are down and made us laugh with his silly antics.
And that ties in perfectly with one of the themes of an assembly this week,, where our Head Girl asked, as part of LBGT+ History Month and in the lead up to Valentine’s Day, what does love mean to us? For me that question always centres around family. which obviously includes our beloved pets. As the French poet, Anatole France, said: “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” So I am sure the students in school, when asked about love, will often think of their family and possibly a treasured pet or two. However, I am sure their views also include the love of their friends here at BGS, many of whom will be held dear for the rest of their lives. For the parents reading this, our school friends may be spread out all over the world now, but we know that the intense friendships you make whilst at school are like no others. As Helen Keller once said: “True friends are never apart, maybe in distance but never in heart.” I know that this will apply to so many of our students at BGS now and in the future, as at this time in the year we excitedly start to look forward to welcoming new students into our community come September.