Headmaster’s Thoughts – March 2017

These “Thoughts”, now in their 12th year, began when my children became curious about my family’s history. The pieces I wrote for them stressed the random nature of luck in my life. How I grew up, how I met their …

March 1, 2017

Headmaster’s Thoughts – February 2017

Sitting is the new tobacco. I thought it was sugar, but that was last month, and it is now definitely sitting. You cannot sit for more than 20 minutes at a time, or it is curtains for you. That is …

February 1, 2017

Headmaster’s Thoughts – January 2017

The first joke that I remember was told to me in kindergarten: “What does a caterpillar do on New Year’s Day? He turns over a new leaf!” Pathetic (although I remember that I thought it was funny as a five-year-old). …

January 1, 2017

Headmaster’s Thoughts – December 2016

‘Tis the season to be stressed out, Fa la la la la, la la la.   Who should we give presents to?  Have we given enough?  Will the newspaper ever be delivered again if we give too little?  Will our car …

December 1, 2016

Headmaster’s Thoughts – November 2016

I hope, by the time this piece is printed (I always think the word “essay” is too fancy for these works.) that the election will be OVER!  Heavens, make it end!  You can have my private collection of pre-war toothbrushes …

November 1, 2016

Headmaster’s Thoughts – October 2016

It is an interesting fact that I never feel as good on a Saturday morning as I do on a weekday morning.  I get up at my usual time in order to walk the dog in the park, but then, …

October 1, 2016

Headmaster’s Thoughts – September 2016

Welcome to the new school year at York Prep!  With these September Thoughts, I want to particularly welcome our new families. I started writing these essays in 2004 so that my students (I teach all of the seniors) could critique …

September 1, 2016

Headmaster’s Thoughts – August 2016

Do you ever get carried away in the spirit of the moment?  Have you ever made a decision that you wanted to change the next day?  No, I am not talking about the British public and Brexit, although I easily …

August 1, 2016

Headmaster’s Thoughts — July 2016

Unfortunately, one of the clear characteristics of the current presidential race is that neither candidate is able to stir us with grand oratory. Worse, there seems an absence of real humor in their public presentations. Jokes, if they exist at …

July 1, 2016

Headmaster’s Thoughts — June 2016

2016 Graduation Speech This afternoon is one of celebration.  We celebrate the class of 2016 whom I, and many of the teachers here, have had the privilege of teaching.  This is a thoughtful class whom I have enjoyed leading in …

June 1, 2016

Headmaster’s Thoughts – May 2016

I like lists, so I hope you will bear with me as I list the jobs that I did before I was 19. I started off as a milkman’s “boy” at the age of nine. I doubt there were many …

May 1, 2016

Headmaster’s Thoughts — April 2016

One of my favorite times of the school week is when I teach our seniors. There are a variety of reasons for this, not the least of which is the freedom I have to teach almost anything. The seniors often …

April 1, 2016

Headmaster’s Thoughts — March 2016

I have written before in these “Thoughts” that I do not like to classify students in any statistical reports. I believe that we are one race – humans, and any attempt to put us all into different boxes undermines, for …

March 1, 2016

Headmaster’s Thoughts — February 2016

Occasionally, one will read an article by an educator who believes that we give out too many awards in schools today. Their objection is that if every child competing in an academic or athletic event gets a medal, then the …

February 1, 2016

Headmaster’s Thoughts — January 2016

Happy New Year! No, really, I mean it. I wish you a happy New Year. I can understand why you might not take this sentiment seriously since, by now, countless people have offered you the same sentiment. I have received …

January 1, 2016

Headmaster’s Thoughts — December 2015

Welcome to December . . . the month where you pay the most for any product that could possibly considered a present for someone . . . the month that is followed by January, when you pay less than half …

December 1, 2015

Headmaster’s Thoughts — November 2015

(Look earnestly into camera.) My fellow Americans, I have decided to run for President of these United States of America. (Cue the applause.)   I pledge to bring back to our great country its past glory and power. I will see …

November 1, 2015

Headmaster’s Thoughts — October 2015

There comes a time in the beginning of the career of a young barrister in England when he (or she) becomes a pupil to a senior barrister. For the first six months of that period (a carry-over from the era …

October 1, 2015

Headmaster’s Thoughts — September 2015

This is my 11th year of writing these monthly “Headmaster’s Thoughts,” and I still am not very good at explaining why I do this. It started when one of my students (I teach 12th grade Ethics to all seniors.) commented …

September 1, 2015

Headmaster’s Thoughts — August 2015

Since a presidential election is only just over a year away, we are entering into the silly season for phone surveys. They always seem to happen at dinner time. Just when you are about to eat, the phone rings and …

August 1, 2015

Headmaster’s Thoughts — July 2015

Dust is truly ubiquitous on our planet. In oceans and on land, in cities and in the wildest of terrains, in palaces and hovels, it is a constant. We accept it in our daily lives as an inevitable nuisance that …

July 1, 2015

Headmaster’s Thoughts — June 2015

In the eleven years of writing these “Headmaster’s Thoughts,” I have always used my speech at graduation for my June “Thoughts.” This year we had a beautiful ceremony, highlighted by a fine speech by our keynote speaker, the great American …

June 1, 2015

Headmaster’s Thoughts — May 2015

My signature is truly appalling. It looks like a truncated part of an ECG from a person with an irregular heartbeat. When I write using a stylus on one of those plastic windows in tablets, as some retail establishments ask …

May 1, 2015

Headmaster’s Thoughts — April 2015

The thing about hula hooping is that there is something absurd about it. You gyrate with arms flailing because a person’s arms have nothing to do with keeping the hula hoop going, apart from keeping them out of the way. …

April 1, 2015

Headmaster’s Thoughts — March 2015

I want to say at the outset that I am sure all the current “Royals” in Britain are very nice people. I have not met them, and almost certainly never will, but I have absolutely no reason to think that …

March 1, 2015

Headmaster’s Thoughts — February 2015

This may not be an interesting month’s piece for you since I am going to talk about my back surgery and listening to other people talking about their surgeries is something I have always found uninteresting. My surgery came after …

February 1, 2015

Headmaster’s Thoughts — January 2015

You might have anticipated that my first published “Thoughts” of the New Year would be serious and educational. You would have been wrong. You probably know that I come from England, where we have a long history of having a …

January 1, 2015

Headmaster’s Thoughts — December 2014

There is a cup of hot chocolate on my desk as I sit down to write this month’s thoughts. This is the time of the year when we enjoy the holiday season and start thinking of the New Year.  It …

December 1, 2014

Headmaster’s Thoughts – November 2014

I do not carry a cell phone. Sometimes I think I am the only person in the School not to do so. What is it about those gadgets that are so critical?  We allow students to use them only in …

November 1, 2014

Headmaster’s Thoughts — October 2014

I cannot wait until the next “Reacher” thriller comes out.  It will top the New York Times bestseller list for sure.  I actually met Lee Childs, the author of the series, at a book signing at the sorely missed Barnes …

October 1, 2014

Headmaster’s Thoughts – September 2014

To any new readers of my monthly “Thoughts”, I want to wish you welcome. I started writing these pieces about ten years ago for the senior students who are all required to take my Ethics class. Since they are also …

September 1, 2014

Headmaster’s Thoughts – August 2014

Is it learned behavior to become more conscious of prioritizing as one gets older? Certainly, I have realized that saying yes to everyone only increases a responsibility to do things that you should not be doing, that you have no …

August 1, 2014

Headmaster’s Thoughts – July 2014

I have a confession to make: I am a FreeCell junkie. I am addicted to the solitaire game of FreeCell. It is the game that comes free with all Windows operating systems. It is on your computer. If you want …

July 1, 2014

Headmaster’s Thoughts – June 2014

[Headmaster Ronald Stewart delivered the following graduation speech on May 22, 2013. The guest speaker at the Commencement Exercises was Timothy Shriver, Chairman of Special Olympics.] Congratulations to the Class of 2014, to their parents, friends, and teachers. Education is …

June 1, 2014

Headmaster’s Thoughts – May 2014

I thought I would discuss truce terms of my youth. You might wonder why, and the answer is that truce terms have disappeared for the very happy reason that this generation of boy students at good schools do not physically …

May 1, 2014

Headmaster’s Thoughts – April 2014

I want to begin by saying that I am not a masochist; neither, to my knowledge, is Jayme. And yet every week for many, many years we have allowed ourselves to be stuck all over our bodies by pins. And …

April 1, 2014

Headmaster’s Thoughts – February 2014

I suppose there are people who do not like lists, but I am not one of them. The internet is flooded with them nowadays, and I read them all. The ten best ways to cook a squirrel, the ten things …

February 1, 2014

Headmaster’s Thoughts – January 2014

I am writing these “Thoughts” on one of the coldest nights of the year in the middle of December. Returning from dinner at a local restaurant, Jayme and I passed by the Christian Science Church on the corner of West …

January 1, 2014

Headmaster’s Thoughts – December 2013

So here we are in our 45th year! That translates to more than 10,000 student “years” and well over 2000 graduates. We just finished our fifth successful Middle States accreditation visit (see “In the News” on our website), and we …

December 1, 2013

Headmaster’s Thoughts – November 2013

I was an evacuee. In June of 1944, three months after I was born, the Germans started to fire V-1 rockets at London, and they were followed by V-2s. The classic air raid, with warning sirens giving time for the …

November 1, 2013

Headmaster’s Thoughts – October 2013

I started writing these monthly “Thoughts” nearly nine years ago. The original purpose was to offer students (in this case, my senior Ethics class) some power and perspective: just as teachers generally require students to write essays that are corrected …

October 1, 2013

Headmaster’s Thoughts – September 2013

Since every month for over eight years I have written a short essay which I pass off as my “thoughts,” I sit at my computer at home determined to write something and open my desk drawer. I randomly pick up …

September 1, 2013

Headmaster’s Thoughts – August 2013

Since these are my “August Thoughts” and very few will read them, I thought that I would try to be serious for a change. I generally prefer to hide behind humor to avoid making pompous remarks about education and to …

August 1, 2013

Headmaster’s Thoughts – July 2013

I think I have Multiple Password Disorder. Every time I try to access a product or service or try to even get a price on an article, I have to log in, create a user name, and then—woe of woes—create …

July 1, 2013

Headmaster’s Thoughts – June 2013

[Headmaster Ronald Stewart delivered the following graduation speech on May 22, 2013. The guest speakers at the Commencement Exercises were Academy Award winners Mr. Joel Coen and Ms. Frances McDormand.] I, too, would like to congratulate the class of 2013. …

June 1, 2013

Headmaster’s Thoughts – May 2013

Recently, Jayme and I dined at a restaurant that presented, along with their wine list and their food options, a menu of water. They offered a variety of at least ten different bottled waters—all of which were, well, water. With …

May 1, 2013

Headmaster’s Thoughts – April 2013

“We strongly recommend that you arrive at the airport three hours before your international flight!” With this command, the airlines have created a new center of commerce and salesmanship: the airport concourse of shops. Trapped in an abundance of fast-food …

April 1, 2013

Headmaster’s Thoughts – March 2013

This is the one-hundredth “Headmaster’s Thoughts” I have written. That means that every month since December 2004, I have written a multi-paragraph essay for publication on the York Prep website. I am surprised (and I admit, pleased) to have written …

March 1, 2013