Les Tapies is a completely unique place.
Here, nestled into the mountainside, sits a place of culture. A programme that places a premium on perspective, keen observation, and an eye for detail. Les Tapies is isolated from the outside world, but it is not divorced from it. We are reminded of this fact today more than ever.
When the first three of us - Kyle, my father and I - arrived last week, we returned to a site that occupies a very special place in our hearts. For Kyle and me, it is a place of immeasurable personal growth. For my father, it is a place into which he has poured years of care, dedication, and passion. For all three of us, it is a place of uninterrupted work, where effort inevitably translates into results. It is a place where we nurture our craft. It is a place of extraordinary privilege.
The paving stones here are worn. They are worn by the feet of the thousands who were here before us, through centuries of peace and decades of persecution, where our forebears sought refuge and our contemporaries attained tranquility. Today, it is a paradise. But it is a paradise won through years upon years of work, and we take special care to ensure that every student leaves his or her own imprint on the identity of this space.
Les Tapies is a programme designed for children, but the experience is singularly adult. It is immersive. The landscape is raw; the amenities are basic. And the programme is suitably demanding.
It is no wonder, then, that students leave with such expansive portfolios. Students cannot escape the environment; it is all-encompassing, and the teaching is exceedingly rigorous. Only their best is good enough.
Though we are keenly aware of the accomplishments of those who came before, we are also acutely conscious of our own possibilities. Each year presents its own opportunities, and we welcome the potential of each new group of gifted students. This year is no different, and we are incredibly confident in the abilities of our incoming colleagues.
Samuel Phillips, an 18th century educator in Massachusetts, once wrote that ‘The End Depends Upon the Beginning’. Our students are uniquely imbued with this sense of tradition. Their days here will represent an incredibly prolific period for their artistry.
We are thrilled to welcome them to Les Tapies today.
- Thurston Smalley