What does it mean to be a Change Maker?

As Stowe begins its Centenary celebrations, we have much to reflect on. A hundred years of change, evolution and of providing an education that breaks the mould. To mark the Centenary, we wanted to create a new film to mark not just our special birthday, but our future direction of travel.

Featuring current pupils, Old Stoics and members of staff, it draws on the founding ethos of the School and our vision beyond 2023. The film was directed by Will Berner (Chatham 11) and his company Ablinq. The creation involved script writing, studio recording, green screening, archived 8mm transcoding, on location filming, animation building, racing droning, photo taking and music and sound producing. It was an idea that started last year, to characterise a 100-year-old community into a couple minutes of film. A nod to the history with eyes looking firmly into the future.

Jonelle Famutimi (Fourth Form, Cheshire) and Old Stoic Nigel Milne (Chandos 68) both have starring roles in the film, narrating the powerful words that accompany the images of Stowe both past and present. Of different generations, we hear how being in the film and the Change Maker ethos is held by Jonelle, Nigel and Will.

Stoic Jonelle remembers how she felt when she was asked to represent the School in the film, “I was initially quite scared and slightly nervous as I don’t tend to speak in front of a large audience or on camera very often, however after the video was completed, I felt accomplished and the positive feedback I received was encouraging.” Jonelle sees herself as a Change Maker because she has a goal to make a difference and her actions support this, “I would like to become a mechanical engineer and could therefore help increase the efficiency of vehicles which would help to make positive change, as vehicles are an essential part of many people’s lives. By doing this I can impact many lives in a positive way.” Finally, Jonelle believes “it’s important to be a Change Maker in life because I feel that everyone’s goal should be to make change in the world. If everyone is striving to make positive change, then it will happen and the world will naturally become a better place.”

Leaving Stowe 55 years ago, Nigel was asked to represent Stowe as a voice reflecting the past; where the School has come from. In being asked to do this Nigel felt “enormously honoured and really rather flattered!”. Whilst the phrase Change Maker wasn’t used when Nigel was here, he believes that he is a Change Maker, his time at Stowe instilling a feeling of individualism in him. He is not keen on maintaining meaningless traditions and rituals, and during his time on the Old Stoic Society Committee he shook things up by, amongst other things, changing the structure of dinners to allow those who attended to socialise with all ages and sexes and not be limited to their own year groups. Since Nigel left in 1968, he believes the most radical change to the School has been the introduction of girls! He also believes the academic standard has improved dramatically and the parochial activities of the School seem wider and all encompassing, which he feels is all down to the brilliant and far-sighted Head and staff. Nigel believes that being a Change Maker is important in life, and “whilst some traditions are worth keeping, it must be said that some, which were once originally pertinent and meaningful can, over time, lose their relevance. Time moves on, priorities change – and so must the individual and institutions, too.”

Will, Director of the film, would leave it to other people to decide if he is a Change Maker, but adds, “film content is an extremely powerful tool to incite change, so in some respects I feel like by creating film content it can change other people’s perceptions and outlooks”. Looking back at his time at Stowe, Will believes the Change Maker ethos was always in place, if not defined. He really hopes this short film articulates what it means.

We hope you enjoy it!

Tori Roddy, Group Director of Marketing & Admissions