Walthamstow Hall bid a very fond farewell to Headmistress, Miss Stephanie Ferro today.
Following her final Junior School assembly earlier in the week Miss Ferro led her last Senior School Prayers this afternoon. The beautiful music and the readings all reflected the nautical and classical themes dear to the School and to Miss Ferro.
Head Girl Sarah read the poem Ithaka, by C P Cavafy which, as Miss Ferro explained, suggested the importance of Odysseus’ homeward journey was in travelling well, rather than in reaching the destination.
The Head Girl Team presented Miss Ferro with a photo album of pictures and messages from students in every form and also a gift of the sponsorship of a girl’s education in Africa. The student will write to Miss Ferro regularly with news of her progress and it is hoped future Head Girl Teams can maintain the sponsorship. A clearly moved Miss Ferro said it was the perfect gift as she had been born in Africa and in her first address to staff had used the famous African saying: “It takes a village to raise a child.”
Miss Ferro left us with a twinkle in her eye; once she had exited the stage the final scene from Star Trek VI was played: “This is the final cruise of the Starship Enterprise under my command. This ship and her history will shortly become the care of another crew. To them and their posterity will we commit our future.”
We look forward to welcoming Ms Louise Chamberlain as Headmistress on 5 June and in the meantime leave you with the words of Miss Ferro’s final letter sent to families today.
There are years when nothing happens and years in which centuries happen.
I have recently heard it said that, unlike most of my predecessors, I have ‘only’ spent five years leading Walthamstow Hall. On reflection, whilst this is true, they have been years of extraordinary change – Brexit, 3 Prime Ministers in 3 months, the Platinum Jubilee, the death of Her Majesty, the coronation of the King – which have seen the School community focus even more on its long-held values of purposeful impact and compassion.
Navigating the uncharted waters of the pandemic, and life subsequently, whilst keeping true to our founding aims has been challenging and hugely satisfying.
This academic year, in particular, we have provided a safe haven for 11 Ukrainian pupils who are tremendously glad of the welcome they have received, and the kindness shown by their peers, staff and Walthamstow Hall families. My sincere thanks and appreciation to the Governing Body that supported this initiative and to all members of the School community, both past and present, who have continued to create such a supportive and positive environment in which every individual can thrive.
I am enormously grateful for the opportunity I have had to lead and serve Walthamstow Hall, and I am especially appreciative of all those who have encouraged me over the last few years. I am leaving with many happy memories and delighted that my successor has such a wonderful team to support her. I know that she will be assured of a very warm welcome from parents, pupils and staff on 5 June.
Wishing you all a restorative and enjoyable half term, with every good wish and plain sailing for the future.
Miss Stephanie Ferro
There are good ships and wood ships, ships that sail the sea, but the best ships are friendships, and may they always be.
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