Cheers for Volunteers

By June 2, 2017 Head's Blog

CHEERS (1024x512)

Gratitude is very important in a school. After all, we are first and foremost a community, and appreciating what people do for one another is essential if a community is to grow and flourish.

At Elmwood, we are so fortunate that our volunteers go above and beyond the call of duty every day. And although they are happy to do these things for their own sake, it’s important that the school pause and genuinely appreciate all you have done for us. This is why we gather together for our Cheers for Volunteers luncheon which we held on Wednesday. It’s our chance to say thanks to all our volunteers for all they do for Elmwood.

Cheers 2017

Guests at the Cheers for Volunteers event


What I noticed most about this year is not only have our volunteers been a tremendously generous group of people, but also how empowering they have all been towards each other and towards the school.

At our luncheon I read a poem by a 14th century Persian poet called Hafiz.

The small man
Builds cages for everyone
While the sage,
Who has to duck his head
When the moon is low,
Keeps dropping keys all night long
For the

This poem made me think about two concepts: cage building and key dropping. It strikes me that most people in this world spend a lot of time building cages for themselves and for those around them. This is accomplished by making people small, so that small people can feel bigger. Cage-building is protecting yourself and your interests. It’s about making yourself look good at the expense of others, and discouraging good ideas because you weren’t the one to come up with them.

Key-dropping, on the other hand, is making other people look good, building them up, expanding the pie. You give them the key and they unlock their own cages and set themselves free. In other words, key-dropping is all about empowerment, unlocking possibility and potential in others.

I really believe that the group of volunteers have been tremendous key droppers this year. Not only did they make a positive impact on the school, they have actively reached out to others to include them and empower them. And in that way, they have been tremendous role models for the girls and have transformed our school for the better. Thank you, volunteers, for all that you do for Elmwood! You make our world a better place!

Best regards,


About Cheryl Boughton

Cheryl has been leading Elmwood since August 2008, when she was chosen by the Board of Governors, after a global search, to be the eleventh Headmistress of the School. She has a rich and diverse background in independent education having held progressively senior roles managing independent schools in the United Kingdom.