As an educator, from time to time I get the opportunity to feel proud of a child I've worked with in the past. And because I've been around for a while, I've got a lot of "past" so these opportunities happen quite frequently.
Here's a story. For ten years, my wife and I were teaching houseparents at a British International Boarding School in the Swiss Alpes. I taught Math, my wife taught Biology, and together we were substitute mother and father for 65 teenage girls. We lived with them, we put them to bed at night and woke them up in the morning, we ate our meals with them and we made them eat their vegetables and mind their manners. We hugged them when they were good and punished them when they were naughty.
Sabine was one of our girls. She came from Germany, spent five years with us and graduated to some college I'd never heard of in the States. As a teenager, she was a little awkward socially, an average student with an inclination towards naughtiness. I can't remember the number of times I grounded Sabine for being naughty. She wasn't "bad", she was just a nice kid who didn't always get it right.
I lost touch with Sabine after she graduated, but found her again through the magic of Facebook several years later. By then she was married with two lovely kids and, with her husband, had just opened a specialist florist outlet in Knightsbridge (just behind Harrods) called "Only Roses". They had taken a major risk locating in such an expensive neighbourhood, but they both had faith in their vision.
There are now five franchised Only Roses stores in the Middle East with six more in the pipeline, and a second non-franchise store in Beverley Hills, where they live now. Little Sabine has done very well!
Did you see the Academy Awards?
Did you notice that the statues were made up of roses, and the backdrops were made up of roses. In all 40,000 special, long-lasting, red roses were used for the occasion.
And yes, you guessed it, they're Sabine's roses. That made me smile.
Neil A. McWilliam
Head of School - OGC Campus