The Gift of Generosity
The Head's Study
Meeting host families and their Ukrainian guests over the past few weeks has been intensely humbling: the energy and excitement of the students joining us, keen to get back to learning and routine; the dignified relief of their parents, and the kindness and generosity of host families. Equally humbling have been the offers of additional help, from students buddying up to look after our guests, to repeated offers from Ms Cheers, our Head of International Students to run English speaking classes for parents, to the funds raised to provide the ‘extras’ needed including for our Afghan students we hope will be joining us next term.
The power of community lies at the heart of our school and a question this week from a parent reminded me how important it is for our community to be richly diverse both culturally and economically. Whilst there is no longer an assisted places scheme in the UK (the parent’s question), the GDST’s pledge that our unique, pioneering education for girls reach as many as possible, through a generous bursary scheme, ensures that our students grow up with others of different nationalities and backgrounds.
But learning from this experience only happens with the gift of time. Watching host families offering undivided attention, time, love, laughter with their Ukraine guests reminded me how it is only through really knowing people that we come to understand their experiences and perspective. Whilst we can watch the news, Google all manner of information and pick up soundbites on social media, deep understanding comes from the generous giving of time and a healthy dose of inquisitiveness whist living side by side with others whose perspectives and experiences are so different from our own.
How wonderful that this is happening all around us at Royal High School for those girls who reach out to seize the opportunity.