‘It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.’ A Dumbledore

We are nearing the end of this first half term and I am pleased that we have managed to stay open heretofore and enjoy the company of your happy and luminous sons. Today, as I write this, is Olive House Day, named after the first Headmaster of Rokeby, Charles Daniel Olive (1877-1909). You may not be aware that his successors were also Olives (Gabriel Olive and John Olive were Heads successively from 1909 – 1966).

I am not sure of much that the Olives said, but I can quote Albus the Wizard as above. One thing that visitors to Rokeby always say is how accommodating and professional the staff are and how polite, friendly, and happy and good-natured the boys are.  These may seem such simple things but they are so important, so powerful.

We have all had our fair share of bad news and it looks set to continue. Those who find themselves, world leaders, at this time of crisis reveal more of their true natures with each passing day and what we see is often not good. Instead of revealing the character traits indicative of wisdom and genuine compassion, true strength, and an ability to engender real hope and a sense of confidence, we see much the opposite and an almost cavalier attitude that we should have to put up with it.

So why do we talk about character and behaviour so much at Rokeby? Because we think it really matters. Our Year 8 boys are setting a fabulous example to the rest of the school. Our Head Boy and Deputy Head Boy are marvellous examples of what it means to be a Rokeby boy: an ambassador.

All of these boys will go on to achieve fine things in life and many of them have already done so even as children. For those achievements to be lasting and for their abilities to truly make a difference to the world in which we all must live, they must make the right choices. And to do that they need character. And that cannot be taught on a whiteboard or via Firefly. It must seep into them from the very atmosphere in which they live.

J. R. Peck