Inside King's-Edgehill School

Volume: 5 Issue: 3

Posted by Joe Seagram, Headmaster on Sep 19, 2014, 4:00:00 PM

Dear KES Family,

One of the temptations of being at King’s-Edgehill School is immersing oneself so completely in school life that the outside world ceases to exist. And so it has been with embarrassingly limited time that I have been following the events leading up to the Scottish referendum on independence. For an independent school located in Nova Scotia (New Scotland) that teaches independence and requires it from our students, one would think that it is easy having an opinion on the subject of Scottish independence. It is not. However, we certainly have opinions with regards to student independence.

We want our students to be independent, to learn how to live according to their own wits and resources, to refine their identity and define themselves proudly as individuals. However, we also want them to appreciate that, as John Donne so famously wrote, “No man is an island”. We do not live our lives in isolation. We are connected and inter-connected with our families and everyone around us. Even the most independent of us rely on the actions of others, and there are times when our needs can only be met by other people. Be it on a team or working on a group project, we teach cooperation and communication. Interdependence defines many of our relationships.

It is hard to teach independence. It takes many forms and can be a lifelong continuum. When my father died last year, I was surprised to find how, in ways I had not realized, I was dependent on him. It is a challenge asking teenagers to be confident, responsible for themselves, and accountable for their own actions. However, it is equally challenging to teach teenagers how and when to ask for help. They often equate needing help with weakness. Sometimes it takes real courage to ask for assistance (or, for men it seems, to ask for directions…). Perhaps, true independence does not actually exist and the “outsider” is a mythic creature and the stuff of novels. Certainly, by Closing Day we hope that our graduates have the strength to stand on their own two feet, the confidence to reach out when they need help, and the generosity to extend a hand to those who need one.


Joe Seagram

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