“The truth. It is a beautiful and terrible thing…”

“The truth. It is a beautiful and terrible thing, and must therefore be treated with great caution.”

J. K. Rowling

When the sky is clear and the temperature hovers just above freezing and the sun shines, there can be few more idyllic places to study than on the banks of the Seine. This week we have been treated to crisp mornings with frosty grass and warm afternoons with clear blue skies. It is weeks such as these that often lead us to look inward rather than outward, to be tempted to confine our vision to all that is going on within the school and it is at times like these that the intrusion of the real world can seem all the more stark and uncompromising. Our thoughts are with the populations of Turkey and Syria who face the destruction caused by earthquake this week. It comes as no surprise that our community has already swung into action and collections have begun, I am sure that they will be supported. Our thoughts are with those in our community who are directly affected by this tragedy.

A far more welcome intrusion of the world beyond our fence came in the shape of a number of visiting speakers. It is always good to welcome members of our community and friends of the school to come in and share their thoughts and experiences. Year 3 recently learned about volcanoes and disaster management from Dr. Engel, whilst Year 5 learned about the fashion industry from Mr. Lindsay, a past parent, while the whole Junior School learned about the work of charity La Chaîne de l’Espoir from Mr. Boulte.

The Senior School was equally fortunate to have a distinguished panel of speakers for Year 11’s careers PSHE session, a thank you to Ms. Asa, Mrs. Gagnon and Mr. Potter who were able to provide such a valuable insight into what might lie ahead from a careers perspective. Years 10, 12 and 13 listened to Melissa Bell, CNN’s Paris correspondent who described her experiences as a battlefield correspondent, reporting on natural disasters and interviewing those who have important thoughts to share. Alongside this was the advice that reading voraciously was always time well spent, continuing to study languages would lead to success and to follow academic curiosity for its own sake. At the heart of Ms. Bell’s lecture was the idea that truth should be at the core of what we do. Truth should be sought, those who seek to manipulate it for their own ends should be challenged and a truthfulness to self will lead to a more fulfilling life. I know that many were inspired.

Tomorrow our Community Shop will open, there will be rugby and basketball fixtures, and life for us will continue. For some outside our gates, away from this peaceful spot on the river bank, the truth will be somewhat harsher. It is reassuring to know that those who will eventually leave us will take with them an understanding of what needs to be done to improve life for many beyond the gates of the BSP. This wouldn’t happen without the help of others, so thank you to all who have inspired us this week.

Nicholas Hammond