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The story of an acorn

By Nancy-Anne Richards – Upper House Matron

I first started at College in 2002 as a matron. I used to be able to spend time with the Grade 8s in their own common room
which is now the ARC. We would have tea together on a Sunday. I would also have tea with other grades in the ARC - it
was a special place.

In the second year I started doing a little lesson with the boys to give them confidence and some self-esteem, especially
boys who were having a hard time. I collected acorns and gave one to each boy. I asked them to hold the acorn tightly
and tell me what they thought of as the held the acorn. Some of them would say “Oak tree”! Others took it a little more
seriously and answered with things like strength, life and forest. I went on to tell them that in Grade 8 they are like that
acorn. They have the potential to be a forest or just an acorn. That whatever they wanted to do, with hard work and lots of
belief in themselves they could accomplish anything. I also told them that if they kept the acorn, in ten years I would see
them again and we could see where they had got to in life. I must admit that I did not think any of them would actually keep
the acorn 10 years let alone at their 10 year reunion which was 15 years on from when they originally received their acorns.

I was very touched by one of the Upper Old Andreans who came up to me at the reunion dinner earlier this year and told
me that he still had his acorn on his desk at work. He said that it helped him to remember how his “Matie” had believed in
the best for the boys and that he was grateful for what he had accomplished so far in his life.

To me it meant that I had accomplished my goal and will continue to reach for it each year. When I started at College I told
my Housemaster that if I was able to reach and help touch one boy’s life for the best, I would be happy. Of course you do
want to help all of them and make their lives better. Just that one young man has made me more determined to love and
pray for each of my boys in this wonderful school.