Headmaster's Thoughts Archive


  • August

    Headmaster's Thoughts: August 2022

    Dear Incoming York Prep Student: This month’s essay is primarily addressed to you. Often my monthly essays are deliberately not serious (I even attempt humor), and written for the enjoyment of the reader and myself. But not this month. I want to give you concrete advice on being successful at York, and, indeed, at any school you attend.
    Read More
  • July

    Headmaster's Thoughts: July 2022

    In many lists of top international undergraduate universities, my university, Oxford, ranks in the top three. This includes rankings by American based institutions. In the QS World university rankings (who is “QS”?), Oxford ranks second to MIT. In the U.S. News and World Report, it is number three after Stanford, and then UC Berkeley. In the Times Higher Education ranking, Oxford is number one. The reason I am giving you this statistic is not just for pride in a place I attended but, primarily, to note that virtually all of Oxford’s undergraduate degrees take only three years. Apart from the Classic Greats; a hallowed if slightly dated course, Oxford undergraduate degrees are only three years long. So why do American degrees, apparently considered lower on these rankings (and you may note that Harvard and Yale did not appear) take four years to complete? Since Oxford is the only university to come in all three rankings as one of the top three, that indicates excellence. Hooray! Why be modest?
    Read More
  • June

    Headmaster's Thoughts: June 2022

    As in all previous years, June’s “Headmaster’s Thoughts” is the speech made by the Head at the 2022 Commencement Exercises.
    Congratulations to the graduating Senior Class of 2022, and your families who helped get you here. This is a great group of young people, and all of us applaud your success. You have contributed to so many parts of our school academically, socially, in the performing arts and athletically. I note that over 10% of your class brought home our first Basketball State Championship since 1992. That is just a sign of the spirit of this group. In all arenas, I give you my congratulations.
    Read More
  • May

    Headmaster's Thoughts: May 2022

    The day before I started writing this piece, I watched our first League Boys Varsity Volleyball game of the Spring Season. They won! And they beat a school that is three times our size. What is happening? Are we becoming a sports powerhouse without knowing it? Since we won the State Basketball Championships this year, we have had a few applications from basketball players eager to join our program. I should also proudly state that both our Girls Varsity Basketball and Boys Junior Varsity Basketball teams won their League Championships. Hooray, I say. But, without disappointing the applicants, I should also add that we are not the University of Kansas. The last time we won the State Tournament was 30 years ago. 1992! Not exactly a dynasty.
    Read More
  • April

    Headmaster's Thoughts: April 2022

    I have two numbers on our home phone. Whenever a call comes into the second number (without anyone being on the first line), I always answer, “F.B.I.”. This seems to work. 
    Read More
  • March

    Headmaster's Thoughts: March 2022

    I want to tell you a story about my life. Sorry to be self-absorbed, but maybe you can learn a general lesson from my particular circumstance. Back in 1969, I was a very young and, surprisingly, successful barrister. I was in the right Chambers (what you might call a sort of partnership) at the right time, and I had been chosen as the Junior (what you might call “second chair” ) to defend Charles Kray in the Kray case, which turned out to be the longest criminal murder trial in English history. In the middle of that trial, on October 6th 1968 to be precise, I married Jayme.
    Read More
  • February

    Headmaster's Thoughts: February 2022

    Let me categorically say that we all need fun in our lives. COVID, unfortunately, has robbed us of our opportunities for silliness. I remember having a family Thanksgiving dinner party with friends and extended family, and providing them all with clown’s noses. The wearing of those red squeaky sponges added to the event. Now, we do not have those parties. I remember blowing up balloons on a plane and making animals (some of which popped), which I gave to other passengers, to the extreme embarrassment of my son. Now we do not take planes anymore. I remember…no, I will not bore you further. I think most of you know what I mean. Our whole way of life has been affected by the pandemic. And I know that I have been lucky. No one in my family has been hospitalized yet. Some have had COVID, but only mildly. I am still untouched but waiting. 
    Read More
  • January

    Headmaster's Thoughts: January 2022

    Another spin around the Sun. Another year.
    Is it the eternal optimistic nature of our species that we expect next year to be better? Because I think most of us do. We really look forward to getting over the pandemic, seeing each other’s faces without covering, socializing together. And if we adults have had a hard time of it over the past two years, how much worse has it been for our children? The time spent in school is the most critical time to develop the skills of understanding how to get on with peers, how to share, how to be a member of a community. For too many children, that avenue of progress had a major break. They were homebound. Should they have been in school? I think so. 
    Read More
< 2022