Farewell Mr Anderson

    28 October

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    “The Road goes ever on and on

    Down from the door where it began.

    Now far ahead the Road has gone,

    And I must follow, if I can,

    Pursuing it with eager feet,

    Until it joins some larger way

    Where many paths and errands meet.

    And whither then? I cannot say”

    J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring


    In June 2016, as my boys headed towards the end of their year in Prep 7, we took time to study, in some detail, Charles Dicken’s Great Expectations. The story is appropriate as it introduces the boys to themes beyond those that they would encounter within a more atypical ‘book for boys’. Themes such as love, avarice, heartbreak, scorn, pity, jealousy and revenge, and making them reflect upon the “great expectations” they have for Year 8 and beyond as they become ‘Gentlemen of the College’. Like Pip, I came to Campbell, with ‘great expectations’ for what the future would hold. Unlike Pip, however, I can look back upon my experience of becoming a Gentleman (of the College) with great affection and appreciation.

    As I reflect upon my time here at Campbell, it is with a wry smile that I now appreciate the huge impact that the College has had in instilling in me the values that I have endeavoured to pass on to my Prep 7 boys over the past 10 years.

    When I joined the staff of the College in 2007, I immediately immersed myself in all things Campbell: Rugby, Boarding, Jengana, Junior Drama, and ICT, allowing myself to be carried along through each experience and marvelling at the opportunities that the boys (and I by proxy) were afforded. It was through this willingness to commit fully to the life of the College that I feel qualified to share some of my thoughts as to what makes Campbell so quintessentially...Campbell.

    Campbell is unique. Its sense of community, gilded through a reverence for those who have gone before, who have shaped history and worn smooth the steps of Central Hall, has had a profound effect upon me. I often pondered where this culture of service and quiet self-control comes from. How does Campbell produce men of such sincerity and great ability? The answer: The staff of the College. I arrived into Campbell as a young man whose only connection to Campbell College, prior to my employment, was being run over by one of the Medallion team during my schoolboy rugby career. Overawed by the building and the grandiose setting of my ‘work’ I was quickly inducted into the Campbell way of doing life through meeting men of stature within school such as McKinney, McKee, Jemphrey, Collier, Farr and Boyd and acquiring a more sensitive side through the influence of Mrs Gwynne, Mrs Vance, Mrs Hoey, Mrs Pearson and Mrs Cooke. To these people, thank you. You took a young man from Tyrone and helped him find his feet.

    I am forever grateful to the staff in Campbell who have mentored and faithfully stewarded me to the position that I am about to undertake. Under the skilled tutelage of Mrs Hazel Rowan and Miss Andrea Brown (Junior School), Mr Bert Robinson (Boarding), Mr Brian Robinson (Rugby) and the late Mark Yetman (ICT) I have not only acquired skills in management and leadership that will stand me in good stead for the rest of my professional life, but I have also taken great note of how to conduct myself in a way that befits a man of our noble profession.

    As I cleared my desk and classroom this week, I carefully placed the framed photographs of my classes from 2007 to 2016 into bubble wrap for the journey to Lisburn. I take these with me to remind me of the individuals who made my job of teaching in Junior School so enjoyable. There has never been a day that I have not wanted to come to work. The learning experiences I have shared with each of the 240+ boys has been brilliant, and I wish each of them every success for the future as they progress through CCB and on into further education.

    Thank you also to the parents of these fine young men, who have been attentive to their son’s needs in providing the best educational experience for boys in Northern Ireland. Their kindness and generosity, (particularly when Mr Anderson found his Mrs Anderson, and when we welcomed both Grace and Benjamin into the World) will always be cherished.

    And so it is adieu. I have loved my time at Campbell, the friendships I have made with the people I have worked with will endure, and remain a fixed and constant presence in my life. My life is much the richer for having lived, and worked at Campbell. I will forever expound the virtues of our College to all.

    Yours faithfully,

    John Anderson (Mr A!)

    A Gentleman of the College