Headmaster’s Thoughts – February 2005

I was encouraged recently to “Google” myself. Go ahead, I was confidently told, you will be amazed by what the search engine tells about you. I was. It turned up nothing.

Somewhat crestfallen by this experience, I wondered if I could show up in some other context. Maybe I was not searching correctly. After all, Jayme and I had founded York Prep in 1969, and York Prep is a fabulous school, with a great reputation and a wonderful web site. I looked my name up in the English Google as well (I graduated from Oxford, England, with three degrees.) The result… Zip! Blank! I am not a Google person. I do not exist.

What made it worse was how many people do exist. There were Ronald Stewarts from all over the world listed—some of whom were still in high school, most of whom played bluegrass guitar, some of whom seemed to do nothing except get listed. I wondered: if I linked my name with the Kray case, arguably the longest and most significant trial in England since the Second World War, would my name be mentioned? In 1968, I was the junior defense counsel (barrister) for Charlie Kray, and we got him off the most serious charges of murder. I did an advanced Google search; tons of stuff on the Krays but not a mention of yours truly. I looked up my cousin, Frank Henderson Stewart. He’s right up there, having written two books on Arab cultures published by Chicago Press. His name heads the list. My wife, of course, is also well chronicled since she wrote the book How to Get into the College of Your Choice: And How to Finance It, published by the Quill Division of William Morrow Publishing. She gets many mentions. This is getting sad.

I think we all hope that we contribute something to the world around us, and starting a school, one might think, is a valuable creation of a community-minded person. Well, not to Google. Something was missing. So I had a brainwave. Since Jayme is the “Mom” of York Prep and I (hopefully) am the “Pop,” how about linking our names together? Eureka! It works! I am there as founder with Jayme amid the whole York Prep website. Jayme and I together have several mentions.

So this is who I am—nothing without my wife. Google is a billion dollar company. Let’s face it: they are more likely to be right than anyone else. I am just half of a team, unproductive, a person who gives nothing to the community unless he is with his wife. And then I seem to do fine.

“Is there anything you want, honey? Can I get you something?”

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