OPINION: Although he has not set foot here for 15 years, former Marlborough College student Bruce Leonard is disappointed at the public interest in the new colleges debate.
The opportunity to create a world-class learning environment is a rare event.
It is shocking when a paltry 300 Blenheim residents attend a public meeting to discuss the next two, three, four generations of secondary school education.
I am guessing, but 300 - what is that, less than 5 per cent of the parents of the current two college rolls? And what about all the resident ex-pupils, ex-teachers and general "concerned" citizens?
Come on Marlburians, get passionate, seize the moment.
The new college(s) is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a world-class educational establishment. This is not about bricks and mortar.
It is about children, and their children, and those children's children, and how as young adults they are able to apply positive influences on society.
It is about developing an educational legacy; delivering world-class education; creating a learning environment that allows teenagers to become comfortable as citizens of the world.
Whether they leave Blenheim or not, they will, indeed, become world citizens.
Mobile devices, the internet, the ability to travel, all guarantee they will be part of the global village.
I read several expressions of the need to create "a modern education facility".
Well, why stop there?
What about a goal of establishing the world's best learning experience. Or at the very least, best in the southern hemisphere - schools like Eton may be hard to surpass.
A college(s) where pupils are keen to get out of bed in the morning, a college(s) that attracts the very best teachers, a college(s) whose reputation and success is held up as an example by other secondary schools across the world.
One way to achieve these lofty ambitions is to specialise. Not across the whole curriculum, but at least one block or wing dedicated to a specialty discipline.
The IT field is an obvious option, as is graphic design and computer graphics.
What price for one of the buildings to be named the Sir Peter Jackson Wing. Another option is, of course, viticulture.
Marlborough is already making its mark on the world stage. Build on it. Perhaps Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy would like to illustrate its long-term commitment to Marlborough by making a substantial donation to the LVMH Block.
Whether you agree or not with the above content is immaterial.
The issue is, do not let this opportunity to make a difference in your region pass you by.
Engage yourself for the benefit of those pupils to follow.
- Bruce Leonard was a student at Marlborough College in 1959-63 before he joined Air New Zealand. He has been living in France since 2000 and regularly keeps up with news from the region via stuff.co.nz
- The Marlborough Express