It was an emotional but dazzling day at Bangkok Patana School as students, staff and parents gathered to celebrate the end of the academic year and to bid farewell to their longest serving Head of School, Matt Mills. After 15 years of leading the school with vision, passion and humour, Mr Mills is retiring.
The final assembly was a showcase of the school’s talent and diversity, featuring stunning performances from the Dance Academy, and musical numbers from staff and students. The theme of the assembly was inspired by one of Mr Mills’s favourite bands, Cold Play – A Sky Full of Stars – a fitting tribute to a man who has nurtured and empowered thousands of young stars during his tenure.
The assembly also honoured those teachers who are leaving Bangkok Patana after years of dedicated service. Among them was Kerry Meaden-Kendrick, who received a spontaneous standing ovation from the entire crowd of approximately 3,000 people for her 23 years at the school. Ms Kerry first came to Bangkok Patana as an intern and then returned, after gaining her qualifications and experience, as a class teacher and later Leader of Learning. She too, has generated her share of stars, some who have stopped by over the past few weeks.
As students, staff and parents shared their farewells to Mills, the memories resonated well. He was praised by the students for being a ‘leader, mentor and friend’; for the many times he dressed up in costume and showed his humour. “We were motivated by the joy and appreciation that emanates from you,” said one of the students.
At his last time at the Bangkok Patana podium, Mills was his usual sincere, succinct self: ” Thank you for the heartfelt words. I hope you continue to find new challenges and learn everyday and I thank you from the bottom of my heart… When I look out, I see a school full of stars.” Mr Mills you are well-loved and your legacy abounds through the thousands of students and staff whom you have encouraged, inspired and given so much of your joy.
Scroll below to enjoy the lyrics penned by Mrs Katie Sloane (to the tune of 500 miles by The Proclaimers).
When we wake up, well we know we’re gonna be, We’re gonna be the kids who play ping pong with you. When we come in, well we know we’re gonna be Greeted with a cup of tea and smile from you
If we perform, well we know we’re gonna be We’re gonna be seen by the man who runs it all And if we play ball, yeah we know we’ll play rugby Maybe cricket on Fridee along with you. And we would walk 500 miles And we would walk 500 more Just to catch up with the man who walks so fast He’s wearing out the floor. When we’re workin’, yes we know we’re gonna be We’re gonna be the staff who’re working hard for you. When the kudos comes in for the work we do We know you’ll celebrate and give us all our due. When we see you, oh we know we’re gonna be Discussing your ‘one thing’ with glee, that’s what you do. Now you’re leaving, well we know we’re gonna grieve We’re gonna grieve the man whose passion just shines through Chorus Da da da (da da da) Da da da (da da da) Da Da Da Dun Diddle Un Diddle Un Diddle Uh Da Da When we’re troubled, well we know that we can be By the reflection pool with ease to think of you. And when we’re dreamin’, we will dream you’re retiring In peace with Rachel, Jake, Toby and All Blacks too. When we’re learning, well we know we’ll think of you Your passion, recall all your drama lessons too And when we’re teaching, yes we know we’re gonna be We’re gonna be the school who honours all you do. And we’ll remember all you did for us, it’s true.