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 remain firmly committed to our mission as a great school with a wonderful student body and faculty.

Does one celebrate after 45 years or wait until the golden anniversary of 50? Maybe that is pushing one’s luck! Jayme and I feel at the top of our game right now, but who can predict the future? The ancient Greeks used to say that if you want to amuse the Gods, you should tell them your plans.

What we have done is start an appeal for the York Prep Foundation to fund 45 scholarships for deserving but needy students. Its success would be a fitting celebration.

Most importantly, in the season of my favorite American holiday, Thanksgiving, the word “thanks” is the one that comes obviously to mind. Thanks to our parents, to our student body, and to our faculty and staff. Thanks for 45 years. The person who deserves the most and gets thanked the least in these “Headmaster’s Thoughts” is my wife, Jayme, co-founder and Director of College Guidance. Many people see us as a couple that works together in harmony. We do, but there is also a great deal of back-and-forth discussion (some might call these arguments) as we debate what is best for the school. We are both what could be called “strong personalities,” both passionate about what we believe in. It is a productive dialectic. One of us proposes an idea (the thesis), the other opposes it (the antithesis), and together we thrash out the best solution, which is usually a compromise (the synthesis). Hegel would be proud of us.

This continuing analysis (such a neutral expression) has served the school well. It has the qualities of Yin and Yang, and it has produced a creative tension that has kept us challenged for so long. The plain fact is that neither of us (at least I believe this) could have run the school alone for this long with this much passion and plain fun without the continuing support of (and debates with) the other.

This was not a relationship that had an auspicious beginning. I well remember Jayme’s mother crying throughout the wedding, convinced that the marriage would end quickly. That was at the beginning of October in 1968. We had given her parents only very few weeks of notice that we were getting married, and then, immediately after the wedding, I whisked their daughter off to live in London. They thought they had lost her. I am glad to say that eventually they realized that the marriage might last, and as an added bonus, their daughter was miraculously returned to them in New York.

So, in this peculiar and singular year when Thanksgiving and Chanukah are at the same time, a phenomenon which I do not honestly understand, I dedicate these thoughts to my wife.

Ronald P. Stewart, Headmaster
E-mail: rstewart@yorkprep.org 

“Headmaster’s Thoughts” for previous months are archived in the section More News. You may access additional months by clicking Headmaster’s Thoughts Archives on the same page.