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Queenswood is an extraordinary place with extraordinary people. It would be our privilege to educate your daughters here.

Mrs Ludwick Reflects on the Queenswood Qualities

Friday 23 September 2022

In Chapel on Wednesday, Mrs Ludwick, Assistant Head Boarding, offered her personal reflections on the Queenswood Qualities.

Have you heard about the Queenswood Qualities? Are any of you CURIOUS as to what they might be? Is anyone COURAGEOUS enough to give it a go? Shall we be CREATIVE?

Well, I’m sure you’ve guessed what I’ve done here… as these ARE the Queenswood Qualities:

  • Curious and Reflective
  • Creative and Resourceful
  • Courageous and Resilient

I’m sure that deep down, for those of you who have been here a while, these words should ring a bell, but what do they actually mean to us? 

Now there is a lot I could say about these words… I could come up with a whole list of inspirational quotes by people such as Walt Disney, who said, “We keep moving forward, opening new doors and doing new things because we’re curious, and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”

Or, as Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat Pray Love, said “A creative life is an amplified life. It’s a bigger life, a happier life, an expanded life, and a hell of a lot more interesting life”

And for courage I could quote Nelson Mandela: "Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear."

Or I could talk to you about Marie Curie, Albert Einstein or Rosa Parks, but I won’t…

It’s not that I don’t like these quotes or do not think these people are inspirational – I really do – but let’s be honest, you’ll listen, perhaps think “Oh that’s a good quote” or “that person is quite interesting!” but I bet you won’t remember one iota of anything I say as you walk out the door.

So let’s make it personal….

When was I at my most curious? It’s a bit of a cliché but I think I was the most curious at university where I read all the French classics. I was obsessed with 19th Century French literature and read all the books I could lay my hands on… I think there was a long gap after that and now as I grow older I am becoming much more curious about things – such as science (which I dropped at school at a very early age) and, more recently, politics.

What is the most creative thing I’ve done?

I think it would be when I set up a Bilingual Department in my very first year of teaching or working with the amazing Boarding Team during Covid, a time where we all had to be extremely creative.

And what is the most courageous thing I’ve done? Probably driving through Paris on my own and ending up going round the Arc de Triomphe in a rundown Polo VW. If anyone has driven in Paris before, you will know that it is one of the scariest roundabouts possible and those of you who are aware of my dubious driving skills will understand how doubly scary and dangerous that experience was… but I emerged unscathed and so did half the motorised population of the French capital… although I did go round in circles for a while and learnt some new choice French words from other drivers that, even as a French woman, I had never heard of…

I’m sure that you can all think of some examples when you’ve been curious, creative and courageous and even if you didn’t know it then, these experiences will have helped mould you into the people you are now…

But that is the past – and it’s a new academic year and like the new year in January it is an opportunity to push ourselves out of our comfort zones and perhaps revisit these qualities and put a bit of “oomph” into them. We could all make our new school year resolutions, based on these attributes.

Because it is a gift to be able to be curious, creative and courageous – and we could all explore these ideas more in our daily lives.

Now… those of you who know me, know that I am passionate about boarding and in my opinion every boarder (whether flexi or full) has already embraced these qualities. For example, initially you will have been curious about boarding, and then when boarding, you have to be creative (for example in managing your own time effectively) and certainly you have to be courageous at times, especially when you are so far away from one’s family.

So think about these Queenswood qualities from time to time and I am sure (within reason) you will find your own pathways to curiosity, creativity and courage!