King William’s College Principal Joss Buchanan reflected on the importance of community and international connections at this year’s Founders’ Day celebrations and prizegiving.
Addressing an 800-strong audience, Mr Buchanan said: “We have always celebrated the internationalism of College and for many, many years we have welcomed students from literally around the world. Politics is one thing and we can passionately disagree on what is happening in the news – and we have all been shocked and appalled by the events in Ukraine – but people are people and by having so many different nationalities in the school we learn to put labels to one side and to get to know one another as individuals; we learn what we have in common and what unites us rather than what divides us.”
Speaking to the Upper Sixth, Mr Buchanan reflected on the challenges they had faced over the last two years. An educational journey that in recent years was dominated by the Covid crisis. The Principal commended the students for the resilience they have shown. He noted that: “They coped with the online lessons and kept on top of their work, and this year they have picked up the pace and as the leaders of the school they have taken the initiative in getting the house competitions, the Sport, the Drama, the Music up and running again.”
After a two-year delay due to Covid-19 restrictions, the College was delighted to welcome Radana Crhova as guest of honour. A former student, who joined the Sixth Form in September 2004, Miss Crhova went on to study at Christ Church, Oxford, and at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. She is now a specialist in the field of overseas aid and works for the British Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.
Miss Crhova attended King William’s College after receiving a scholarship run by the Headmasters’ Conference (HMC). Through this initiative over 40 HMC scholars have studied at King William’s College, representing countries throughout Central and Eastern Europe.
As guest of honour, Miss Crhova reflected on her own time at College sharing her experience and the valuable life lessons she learned. She said: “Importantly, it was the first time I experienced first-hand being part of a truly international community. Challenging, yes. The first hurdle for any international student is as simple as “accents”. But learning about people’s cultures, habits, movies and music they grew up with, food and languages, and laughing together while we all tried to navigate the School, the Island, life – it was the most fun I’ve ever had.
“So, I am truly excited for you all because I know you’ll find your passions and the challenges that you want to focus on. Whether you’re staying for a few more years or leaving very soon, be confident that you have all you need to get started.”
Chairman of Governors Peter Clucas also highlighted the importance of community, noting the role King William’s College plays locally. He said: “I make these points to emphasise the important role which the school plays, and will continue to play, in the Island community. We must look to break down any false perceptions that we put ourselves one step removed from our community; in many ways our students are our best examples of how we involve the school in the wider aspect of the Island, but we offer so much more.”
With a final reflection on the year that has seen many changes and developments, Mr Clucas ended proceedings with a vote of thanks: “I have perhaps already touched upon the deed of gratitude owned to all our ever-hard-working staff but on behalf of all Governors I thank you sincerely for your contributions and resilience over the last 12 months. Finally I know that you will all join me in thanking our students who are all a credit to you, their parents and families.”