6 November 2020
Mr Thomson’s leadership is characterised by a belief in the importance of a life fulfilled. In ten years he has encouraged countless students and staff to be true to themselves, to explore their passions, to think critically and creatively, to seize positive and progressive opportunities (and to identify them, even – perhaps most especially – in difficult times), and to above all act with integrity and honesty. Consistent with the ethos of Pembroke, Mr Thomson is both principled and pragmatic.
In celebration and recognition of Mr Luke Thomson’s tenth anniversary as Principal of Pembroke, we asked some of our former student leaders to share their recollections of Mr Thomson’s leadership:
“Whether cheering the First XVIII at Interschol or applauding the musical at interval, Luke Thomson champions the achievements of Pembroke students. He empowers young people to pursue their passions – wherever they may lie. The true test of a leader, though, rests not with the good times but with the bad. During my final year of school, Luke supported our cohort through an unthinkable tragedy. Here, in coalescing our community, Luke’s leadership revealed its greatest lesson, validating the motto emblazoned on our blazers: Ex Unitate Vires.”
Nicholas Duddy (2012)
“During 2015 I had the pleasure of being part of the Senior School Executive team, led by Mr Thomson. Initially I found this role quite daunting but with the support of Mr Thomson and the broader team, it turned into a highlight of my time at Pembroke. He was always very welcoming and approachable during leadership meetings and in the courtyard. This allowed those of us in leadership positions to feel comfortable in suggesting new ways to support our cohort and the broader Pembroke community. His years of experience working in education also meant that he was a fantastic resource of ‘tips and tricks’ on how to go about initiating positive change.”
Tess Ballard (2015)
“I was given a priceless privilege and opportunity to learn true leadership from Mr Thomson throughout my time working with and being mentored by him. One of the biggest attributes I learnt through firsthand experience was to be able to lead from the back. Mr Thomson always placed faith in people’s ability and made everyone feel as though they were in charge. It was this clever and selfless style of leadership that gave everybody a voice and ownership over initiatives. As an old scholar, I have begun to appreciate how difficult it is to lead in this way and really value how lucky I was to learn from Mr Thomson.”
Jake Pajer (2017)
“There are numerous memories and lessons that I took away from my time at Pembroke. Lessons that I carry with me into my early adulthood. Mr Thomson’s ability to address an entire group of young people and instil the feeling that he is talking directly to the individual was phenomenal. Making mistakes is part of life and bettering yourself as a result is the lesson. Mr Thomson opened my eyes to this as a schoolboy and for that I am grateful. A great leader who always had the attention of his students when he spoke.”
Edward Sims (2018)
“The privilege of having led beneath Mr Thomson is the way in which it often felt more like leading alongside him. His unique way of viewing the school as an accumulation of perspectives, deriving not only cooperation but value in diversity, is felt in the genuine openness he brings to every conversation. No matter how accusative, how oppositional we might have come across by nature of our melodramatic and idealistic selves, he taught us by example how to listen. And, he taught us how to speak – with respect, with belief in ourselves and those around us. He taught us how to communicate about even the most difficult of topics with humility and kindness. Thus, the lesson we learn at Pembroke is one Mr Thomson embodies – of the value of goodness amongst greatness.”
Emma Tam (2019)
On behalf of the School Board, staff, students, old scholars and the wider Pembroke community I would like to sincerely thank Mr Thomson for his unwavering and continued commitment to ensuring that Pembroke thrives – now and into the long future. We applaud his ten years of service thus far and look forward to the many achievements of Pembroke and our students yet to come under his leadership.
Jane Miller (1995)
Chair of School Board