Meet our 2018 Head of School: Stuart Roy
The Hilton campus used to be my playground nearly every Saturday when my brother attended the school. The long hours that he spent playing cricket, I spent cycling around the school, swimming in the pool or exploring. So, to me, the Hilton College campus has always been the most beautiful place on earth. I was raised on stories of Hilton’s history. I have been fortunate to grow up in a family in which eight of my relatives have or will attend Hilton College. This made me feel as if my high school was decided before I even set eyes on the place.
Nevertheless, in 2014 I came to Hilton with my emotions in turmoil. Like almost every other Form 1, I arrived in my oversized uniform and the reality of full-time boarding and leaving home seemed terrifying. I had the added concern that I was tiny and almost every boy on the campus seemed bigger than me. My many weekend visits to Hilton meant that I also had an unrealistic idea that Hilton was nothing more than a large playground. At my side on that first day were fifteen other Ellis boys who moved with me into “Old Pearce” (because Ellis was under renovation.) Within the hour my dorm mates and I were laughing and telling stories and, although I didn’t know it then, these boys would become my closest friends. Hilton isn’t a permanent playground, but so far I think we’ve all had more fun than any of us could have hoped for.
Every Hilton boy soon learns the words on the plaque at the McKenzie Gates on the left as you drive in: “Enter these gates with humility, determined to contribute to, and to take advantage of, all that this institution offers, and depart knowing that you are well equipped to forge your future in the world.” Hilton boys are expected to live by these words of former Chairman of the Hilton Governors, John Hodgson. They are lofty objectives that, if honoured, mean a Hilton boy is busy and growing and learning almost constantly. I was warned how quickly it would go, but I am still shocked that I am approaching my final chapter and feel like I still have so much to do and learn.
I am not an exceptional Hilton boy – I am not the best at anything. But I believe this has given me space to try a lot of the many different things on offer at Hilton. I have played a variety of sports and I quickly learned that there is fun to be had and enthusiasm and passion from the coaches and boys, regardless of the level at which sport is played here. I have tried to do or learn something new each year and this led me to play saxophone in the jazz band, be in the chorus line of a school play and many other unlikely things for me. A particular highlight was the privilege of spending a term of exchange at King William’s College on The Isle of Man in 2016.
My advice to any new or junior boy would be to try as many things as possible and to remember that you are unlikely to get the chance to do many of these again after school. You will be surprised at how much fun you will have while learning new skills, even if you’re not particularly good at most of them. In short, Hilton has afforded me unimaginable opportunities and I have gained so much more than a good education.
2018 is a year that is bound to be full of adventure and excitement. It is a privilege to lead the school with Luyanda Cingo and the rest of the leadership team. Our hope is that the entire matric group will be involved in leading the school and making sure that every boy feels proud and happy to be a Hiltonian. I believe the role of head of school can be compared to the job of an orchestra conductor: Without the talent and commitment and passion of each musician, it is impossible for the conductor to create beautiful music.