Sunshine and alligators


While I am watching the fields outside my office erupt into activity because students have finished morning classes and are therefore cramming a lot of pent-up energy into lunch, my thoughts are turning to our Grade Ten students out on their various outdoor trips this week. Such unbroken sunshine is a gift!


There is a specific reason I thought of our Grade Ten students. I came out of Senior School Chapel this morning (Chapel is always a great moment in the day or week – Reverend Fletcher provoked our thoughts in his inimitable way, and Rachael Baptiste, grade 12 student, played the piano and sang) into this fresh day. A few yards further, a young man with a modest beard greeted me and extended his hand – David Houghton, grad of 2005, who was back for a quick visit before taking a year off in the middle of his engineering degree. An outdoors type himself, he mentioned that yesterday he had come across one of our Grade Ten groups on the Juan de Fuca trail, and commented that he never had such great weather on his trips. I myself have gone on a few of these outdoor trips, and I can also remember some pretty foul weather. Even in foul weather, though, it seemed that everyone came back smiling, and both refreshed and exhausted – if you can have such a paradox.


Another reason it has been such a great day is that it started with my usual Friday visit to the Junior School – which I love, because seeing those young faces really does remind you how much kids really do want to drink up learning, unabashedly and hungrily. And this particular Friday involved my annual story in assembly about what the Head of School does – it involves alligators and taking off my tie, and everyone (including me!) has a grand old time. The alligator story served as the theme of one of my School Ties  articles a number of years ago – interested readers can find it on the website here : .


To stray into future topics, I came across an outstanding video clip of a couple of our students in the rowing programme who are going on to achievements on both a national and international level, and next week I hope to have these clips on the website for everyone to view – there is something very exceptional in them that I won’t comment on yet, just to whet the appetite of those who take the time and trouble to give this blog a few moments of their attention.


In the meantime, I hope everyone will do as I am now about to do – go outside and enjoy this sun and blue sky. 




  1. Good evening Mr Snowden,

    It was a fleeting memory that coherced me to visit your school web site tonight and elbowed me to write to you. A friend cited something earlier this evening that reminded me of a summer class I took several years ago in Multiple Intelligences near Cambridge, MA. You were also attending this class in Massachusetts, my native state, and held my fascination due to your educational enthusiasm and ed beliefs, and the fact that we both were on complete opposite sides AND ISLANDS of North America….you in the Northwest and me in the Northeast (OK, your island is much larger than my ENTIRE STATE of Massachusetts….so I live on a rock in the Atlantic Ocean but it IS an island with a complete community and Regional High School…I say this with a huge smile and small kidding smirk). I have continued to read your articles throughout these past years and feel compeled to express gratitude that I once met you….for your optimism, humor, views of life and family and community. Your school, as well as your family, is very fortunate to have someone so caring and sincere. As you just recently wrote, “Such unbroken sunshine is a gift.”

    Polka dotted thoughts from mine to yours…Cheryl Larsen **Martha’s Vineyard Island, Massachusetts**


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