Dear former colleagues,

I sincerely hope you are all doing well in these bizarre Corona times. The level of disruption in society, and therefore in school, is staggering. Since 24 March only a handful of staff members and students are present at school. As if working in a pressure cooker, we have managed to set up a form of education-at-a-distance, and it seems that most students have responded well to this situation. Teachers are learning fast how to adapt. You can ask yourself what would have happened if this crisis had occurred fifteen years earlier. It is hard to see any positive sides to all this, but the fact that we are learning more in a short time than we have in years of extra-curricular training is at least one positive outcome.

Something that is practically unheard of, is the fact that our exam candidates do not need to take any central exams this school year. As far as I know this has happened only once before, and that was during the Second World War… The certificate is to be handed out based solely on the results of the school exams. The question is, whether our students are actually happy with that: the central exam has always been an important moment of closure for every student in secondary education; not only is it a a formal exercise, but it is certainly equally important as a ritual. It is a great pity that we will not be able to offer our exam students that experience this year.

In the meantime we have moved on: a magnificent extra building has been erected in the back yard, specially designated for the music and drama lessons, and after the May break the new BINASK section in the ‘east corner’ is to be finalised. Those of you who have not visited the school for some time will be surprised by the many formidable improvements we have made to the building in the last few years. Should you be curious to see for yourself, feel free: most likely the school will still be empty for some time… 🙂

And time does not stand still for a number of veterans among us: Joar van Raalte, Cees Otto and myself will take their leave at the end of this school year; the state pension is beckoning. That too is bizarre (which seems a good word to describe these times; it fits many situations). We can only hope that at the end of July we will return from a one-and-a-half-meter economy to an arm’s-length economy; if not, we will have to wait for better days.

Stay healthy, and hopefully see you soon.

John Swieringa,


spring 2020