17 Mar 2022
Alumni Blog 2022
Creative Adventure - Connor Williams
Returning to Walhampton after five years has emersed me into nostalgia. As the new music and drama assistant seeing a school from a staff perspective has shined new lights on old memories.
Thinking back, I have never really grown out of impromptu singing in corridors or random dance moves in formal situations. A trait I think I first honed in pre-prep. The first song I sang at Walhampton was ‘The Circle of Life’ from ‘The Lion King’. I began Rafiki’s opening number the moment I stepped out of the car and by the time I had danced into the classroom, Mrs Claire Holly was joining in with the chorus. Kindergarten was electric. The encouragement to be creative and fulfil your own character is a steadfast principle at Walhampton and one that has taken me from the Curly Whirly Mountain to The New York Times.
Inspiring confidence and being inspired by confidence are two sides of the same coin. I remember seeing teachers between Years 1-8 role modelling the skill sets to have the confidence to be kind, creative and ambitious. From walking up a mountain in Wales to learning the location of middle C on the piano, I was guided towards achieving, and shown how believing in your ability opens up doors into opportunity.
By Year 6, a production of ‘Joseph and the Technicolour Dreamcoat’ had been and gone, but the encore showcase at Founders’ Day was about to commence. Playing the part of the Elvis inspired Pharoah, I got changed into my nylon white jumpsuit and strutted onto the stage – my first tech failure. Surrounded by parents, pupils, staff and Sir Ben Ainslie, I heard my microphone nosedive and felt all the lyrics from my head fizzle into blankness. After two intros, two battery changes a mental rejuggle, the performance finally continued with fluency. In a state of musical crisis, Walhampton had taught me that panicking would be of no benefit, and in turn, a mistake is an opportunity to grow and tap into a personal reserve of confidence.
On from the Year 6 Founders’ Day the arts I experienced at Walhampton only became more memorable and creative. I am grateful to have been the first Head Boy at Walhampton to sing Alanis Morrissette’s ‘Ironic’ in the voice of a chicken, likewise, to be in the first group of Year 8 boys to do an on land synchronised swimming routine in the PAC. The bizarre and wonderful makes Walhampton special, and at the same time expresses the joy of being free from creative inhibitions.
Taking adventurous creativity into my secondary school was a new and exciting challenge. Joining Bryanston allowed me to further my passions for philosophy, politics and literature in both an academic and artistic way. Ranging from writing a Persian cookbook, to directing a production of Hamlet set in a hair salon; when producing events and realising goals I relied on the skills founded in the Walhampton mindset.
Since leaving Bryanston, I have taken a gap year to expand my cultural horizons and enhance my career pursuits. My expedition thus far has taken me to Rome where I was living independently and studying history of art with Italian; and back to my roots at Walhampton. The opportunity to work at Walhampton has been an honour, understanding why teaching is a world-wide reason to get up in the morning and learning empathetic leadership skills from Mr Timms has been inspirational. Being included in the Walhampton showcase of Mozart’s ‘The Magic Flute’ has been one of many examples as to why returning to Walhampton has been a joy. Looking forward, in March I will be undertaking a placement at The New York Times. From there I have hopes to be at university studying Philosophy and Politics at either Durham or Edinburgh in September.
“Creativity is contagious, pass it on”
– Albert Einstein.