King William’s College Principal Joss Buchanan spoke of the strength of the school’s international connections at Founders’ Day 2017, the annual prize day and leaving ceremony for the Upper Sixth.
Guest of honour was Dr Walter Henle, a governor and parent. Dr Henle and his wife, Martina, are the first German parents to have had four children pass through King William’s College, a connection which goes back to 2003 when their eldest son, Corbinian, joined the school to study the International Baccalaureate in the Sixth Form.
Mr Buchanan said:
‘We pride ourselves at College on being a strong and friendly community and to have such long-standing links with international families, as well as families on the Island, is extremely important to us. Our association with German families goes back a very long way, to at least the 1930s. It really took off, however, when we moved over to studying the IB, and this year we have had just over 20 German students, including nine in the Upper Sixth, who are about to leave us. The German students always fit in extremely easily and they make a major contribution to all the different aspects of school life and they involve themselves in the wider Island community. In such an uncertain world, we should never overlook the importance of these links, and the international dimension we have here at College, thanks to our overseas students and thanks also to the underlying philosophy behind the IB, is absolutely fundamental to the education we provide.’
Dr Henle grew up in Munich, where he received his legal training and passed his bar exams. He has worked around the world, including Colombia, San Francisco and New York, and he is currently a partner at TaylorWessing, leading the company’s Private Equity Group.
Dr Henle told the audience:
‘I feel honoured and privileged to be here today as the first “overseas” speaker at this event. The King William’s community has welcomed and embraced each of our children. It meant so much to them being away from home to find new friends and their families. Our four sons, who are all here today, treasure the many fond memories of their two years at King William’s College; they appreciate the friendships across many nationalities which, thanks to the College’s alumni organisation and social network, continue to last.’
Dr Henle said that academic excellence, safety and the ‘incredible’ King William’s College community were the main factors for the family choosing the school.
‘King William’s was very early in adopting the IB programme and it has gathered tremendous experience in successfully running the programme over the years,’ he said. ‘Our sons have taken a school leaver exam which is internationally recognised and which allows them to pursue an academic education in most universities around the world, and which we hope will help them succeed in a globalised environment.’
Chairman of Governors Nigel Wood told the audience:
‘I do hope that our Island’s Government will continue to better understand the contribution we as a community make to this Island’s economy, both hard and soft; employing close to 200 people across two sites (one School); attracting students (domestic and overseas) who will in the future have reach and resonance internationally and act as ambassadors, for their home or adopted home; educating approximately 550 Island based students who are not “put” on the State, whose patrons have already paid tax and may themselves be in positions of disproportionate economic influence.
‘It seems to me only sensible that in such a small community, of relatively scarce resource, and notwithstanding our differing ideologies, we can at least understand each other well and work together where we can; to ensure our Island and its inhabitants continue to prosper. Yes of course, we are independent and self-determining and this is a matter of choice; but I detect we are more confident and comfortable than ever, with our historic legacy and position as part of this Island’s heritage.
‘Never resting on our laurels, we look forward to competing on the wider stage, but we must go faster, particularly in the area of sports facilities and infrastructure. We should continue to look for ways in which we might form sensible alliances with Government, to complement our respective offerings.’
Mr Buchanan said this year’s IB exams had gone well and the students had received ‘some terrific university offers’. ‘Both the Upper Sixth and Upper Fifth are able year groups who have worked very hard and we look forward to this summer’s results with considerable confidence,’ he said. Mr Buchanan concluded by saying:
“We are, I hope, a happy school and the students leaving us today will leave with a wealth of fond memories.’