“Thank you, Atlantic College”

Neil Richards, Headmaster of Atlantic College

It is a time for reflection. As my tenure at Atlantic College draws to a close, and new opportunities loom on the horizon, I am left to consider the experience of leadership at the College and to assess its impact on me, as a person. Most of all, I suppose, I can acknowledge the special environment that has been created at this castle by the sea, and the extraordinary energy and passion of the student body as a whole. Fundamentally, it has confirmed my faith in the commonality of basic human values – we are and must continue to be empathetic creatures, which has been the determining factor in our evolution and survival as a species, but equally in this journey at the College I have experienced, directly, the tension between selfish individualism, on occasion masquerading under the guise of human rights, and the need for sensitivity and compromise so necessary for the common good.

I have taught in eight schools and, for the past twenty years, I have held the position of school head (in three very different institutions) – the very nature of my varied career makes it possible to move on, without regret or backward glance. I have gained immeasurably from my time at Atlantic College, and I hope that in some small way the College has gained from my presence. But it is time to move on; to embrace new challenges. I will not seek to be defined by this experience, nor will I regard it as the culmination of my career – it has been a wonderful learning opportunity and an awesome responsibility, and it becomes one more clear thread in the tapestry of my life, ever present, but not determining the overall design. In fact, I take great comfort from not having any idea of this ultimate design, and when that time comes to consider it almost in its entirety – I hope, then, that I will understand and perhaps like what I see, despite the inevitable flaws. I am so very grateful for the opportunity and trust that I have been given by the College; I am enriched by the people with whom I have shared this journey, and my faith in human decency and compassion has been reaffirmed by this world in microcosm. Thank you, Atlantic College, and to those individuals who know me best, and made me laugh, I will ever be grateful.

-United World College Student Magazine-

2 thoughts on ““Thank you, Atlantic College”

  1. I read this whilst procrastinating an essay on communitarian critiques of human rights – how apt.

    Neil, whilst you may not have been the most popular principle, I always felt you were giving it your all. And you certainly brought a fresh perspective on what the college should be and how it should be run; and fresh perspectives and debate are always a good thing. So thanks for your effort and time at AC and good luck in the future.

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