“Roll on Thou Deep and Dark Blue Ocean, Roll”
Over my four years in Mill Bay, several friends have asked me why I chose to stay at Brentwood – what is it about this particular place that makes it so different from others? There are several quick answers to this question: the unrivaled academics, rigorous athletics, graceful, disciplined arts, the thriving boarding house culture, the high quality of facilities, the nurturing faculty – but the one answer that has and always will remain central for me is the ocean.
Yes – the ocean! The sparkling world of blue and green and all the shades in between, sometimes seemingly - deceivingly - still, but always rippling with movement, sometimes seemingly shallow but always infinitely deep. It seems so silly to base such an important life decision on Mother Nature – but in a way, this ocean has been a symbol of what life – and Brentwood is about. The ocean is a timeless motif of a long exploration, a challenging journey, and a beautiful link - as well as a divide - between continents.
Travelling through the Brentwood curriculum is a long exploration. Whether you came in Grade 9 or Grade 12, time moves mysteriously in the Brentwood bubble: a week feels like a month, a month is a year, then all of a sudden, you’re at the end of June, and then you find yourself asking – “How did we get to the end so fast when everything was moving so slowly?” The Brentwood life feels long, but it feels this way because every single day is an exploration into the world – an exploration of knowledge, of other people, and an exploration of oneself.
But swimming through these exploratory waters does not come without challenges. Every journey has its ups and downs, because nothing worth anything is ever just ‘easy’. Brentwood is as challenging as the stormy sea is to a boat – but from that, the boat – and the sailor – come out stronger and wiser, as do the students of fair Brentwood! Through the expectations of Number One Inspections and countless assignments, students conquer these challenges one stroke at a time, building personal strength and maturity as they go.
Let us not forget, however, how this ocean of life can toss us from one home to another. We leave the familiar grounds of childhood by way of the ocean, and the further we go, the wider the ocean stretches out as the mediator: some of us travel long distances to partake in the Brentwood journey, and telephone calls, no matter how closely you press the receiver to your ear, can never completely extend the nuances of a voice over the sparkling waves of the Pacific. Distance is not for the faint-hearted, but rest assured, the ocean gathers as much as it divides: as the waves churn towards Brentwood’s shore, they bring with them students from all over the world - India, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Germany, Australia – and this comingling of cultures, languages, and perspectives expands our horizons.
Cherrie Kwok, Hope House Captain, 2011-2012
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