From the Headmaster
To those of us born well inside the past century, ‘2020’ sounds positively sci-fi. The 1965 film Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet (not to be confused with the even-worse Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women) is set in 2020 and tells of moon colonists travelling to Venus to find it populated by dinosaurs. It seems only yesterday we were dancing to Wham! and yet all of a sudden we are in this ultra-modern year and decade (if we ignore the inconvenient maths that the decade actually starts in 2021).
The 1920s were roaring and the 1960s were swinging – the 80s had Thatcher and the noughties had Blair – and in the first assembly of this term, we wondered what the 2020s will bring. Eight Teachers explained their hopes, including for kindness and (to quote Mr Short), ‘a realization that our bodies are designed to move’. I think the decade will be defined by two challenges: the environment and social media. The latter is a beast our society yet to tame: in the past, information and rumour was received slowly (if at all) and close physical proximity cultivated relationships that enabled misunderstanding to be corrected before it went ‘viral’; today, ten seconds of bitterness can spread anxiety and confusion to a vast audience. However, the day-to-day practical benefits are colossal and connectedness is often a blessing.
The next five years or ten years will be an exciting time for The Pilgrims’ School. In July, we will complete our current five-year plan; new personnel will then boldly go on another five-year mission. The school will benefit from having a fresh captain on the bridge to steer it towards its centenary in 2031.
The 1960s original series of Star Trek (alluded to in the paragraph above, of course) saw dark times ahead and Eugenics Wars in the 1990s – though anticipated mankind eventually working together with common purpose. I concluded my first assembly by saying that I have no idea what the 2020s will bring. Perhaps we feel a hopelessness that the forces ranged against us are too great; but this week I have seen acts of kindness by boys that have given me great optimism – and, indeed, made me reflect on my own response to situations. One thing is certain: the future will be influenced – Abraham Lincoln would have said ‘created’ – by those who live in it.