Dear Whitestone School
Recently I was delighted to discover the Whitestone’s web site and to be able to learn of the changes at the school over time. I started at the school in 1959 and then moved on to St. Stephen’s College in Balla-Balla at the end of 1962. My older brother, Colin, started in 1958 and left in 1961. The last time I visited the school was in 1971 when my then fiancé, now wife, visited Africa for the first time. I remember how small “Big Rock” had become as my world had become larger! I’ve attached a photo of the school choir, I believe it was taken in 1961. The word document provides the names of those pictured to the best of my memory. I will go through my records and see if I can locate additional ‘photos and forward them on to you.
I have so many vivid memories of my years at the school. While I remember many of the teachers by names none is more vivid than Gerald Pennington ( referred to by all as G.P.), who taught lessons both in the classroom and outside. A couple of quotes from him that have stood the test on time “Ask a silly question and you’ll get a silly answer.” “If is the shortest word but carries the biggest meaning.” It seemed that he could do everything from shooting the odd snake with his sawn off shotgun, repair broken hockey sticks and cricket bats and make them available for pick-up games played in the five minute breaks between classes, mark the lanes of the “track” on the main cricket field for athletics day and teach Latin and Mathematics. I wonder how many hours he spent preparing the gravel based hockey field? He was a wonderful man with a genuine love of teaching and his students were fortunate to have his influence on their youth.
Unfortunately, I’m not sure when I’ll ever get the chance to visit the school. After leaving St. Stephen’s I accepted an athletic scholarship to the University of California in Berkeley. On completing my undergraduate degree I married and, as my wife is an American and we intended on living here, I became an American citizen. I was fortunate to be able to pursue my dream of competing internationally in the javelin, representing the US on several occasions and crowning my career by winning a place on the US 1980 Olympic team. (Unfortunately due to a politically motivated boycott we did not compete.) On retiring from athletics I was fortunate to be admitted to the Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, which allowed me to catch up on lost time in terms of career development. Other just over three years in the late ‘80s when I worked for Goldman Sachs in London my family and I have lived in the US. My daughter Heather (25) and son, Colin (23), were both born in London. Heather now lives and works there, while Colin is closer to home working in Los Angeles. We have been living in Santa Barbara, California , since 1990. After many years in the financial markets, including co-founding a hedge fund, I am now an “underemployed house husband” able to enjoy long beach walks or hikes in the nearby mountains with my faithful dog, Shumba, naturally a Rhodesian Ridgeback.
Looking back there is no doubt that the foundation I was able to build at Whitestone, both in academic and personal terms, has had a major role in the successes I have been fortunate to enjoy. I’m sensitive to the fact that times change and methods of education have seen tremendous changes, in part due to technology but also due to social pressures, but I remain convinced that the education we received was of the highest quality at that time and would compare very favorably to modern methods.
469 Barker Pass Rd.
Santa Barbara, CA 93108