March 15th marked a global exodus from Brentwood. Rowers trained in California, rugby players toured France, and all others ventured to the four corners of the earth. Mr. John Allpress and I added to the traveling population by visiting Hong Kong, Taipei and Tokyo; in fact, I write to you from 33,000 feet above the Pacific. We hosted alumni receptions, met current parents and interviewed prospective students. Traveling is one of the most important forms of education. Mark Twain observed that “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”
Seeing other peoples organize, socialize and live is a truly special experience. Having visited every continent except Antarctica (on my bucket list), my parents provided me the gift of travel for which I am most grateful. It opened my mind to the wonders of the human spirit.
Global mindedness is not only 'nice to have' but is essential for us all. While local customs, language and traditions can be daunting, my experience is that regardless of background, we all value family and education. The doctor in Tokyo and the entrepreneur in Prince George both equally treasure their children. Furthermore, shared experiences bind us like nothing else. We met Old Brentonians who, when sharing stories, quickly reverted back to school - boys and girls. They were emotional and proud of their association with our school and, in fact, would like to have more contact and connection.
As we continuously grapple with what skills a Brentwood grad should have, global mindedness is at the top. An Old Brentonians should, without knowing anyone, be able to parachute into London, Victoria, New York, Red Deer, Toronto, Hong Kong, Taipei or Tokyo and not just survive but thrive there. We do, thankfully, have enough Old Brentonians round the world to ensure that through FaceBook or LinkedIn they would have an immediate connection.
Quietly confident, independent, open and globally minded citizenship is in our Brentwood DNA. Long may that continue.
Mr. Bud Patel, Head of School