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Maria Hakonsson

“There are so many happy memories of all the wonderful people at the school.”


NSR Stories

I was at the New School from January 1975 to June 1979, that was from 3rd form to Upper 6th. I’m in a white T-shirt in the middle of the picture, which is from 1978 or 1979.

I took GCE O-levels in chemistry, physics, English, French, Italian, Swedish (I am from Sweden) maths, art, history, and biology. These I passed with good grades.  I took A-levels in biology and chemistry. These I failed miserably. No fault of my teachers, who were all wonderful! My all time favourite teacher was Dr Hugh Cardwell, who taught chemistry. He had a fantastic way of explaining the attraction of protons and electrons in romantic terms! We were encouraged to interrupt and ask questions. Being very shy to start off with, I gained huge self-confidence from the chemistry classes. 

Tony and Ombretta were also my favourites, although I was no good at physics and found Italian literature very challenging! Tony Richards taught maths and constantly teased me and my class-mate Myriam, getting our names mixed up and calling us Marilyn or Marigold or Mary-Anne etc.  We had a beautiful art-teacher (whose name I forget) with long, flowing hair and clothes. She brought her red Irish setter, named Trotsky, to school and we loved him. I loved art, and later went on to art school. I still draw and illustrate occasionally although my chief occupation is nursing. 

Colin taught English literature, Tony Williams taught history, and I still have my note pads full of doodles I draw listening to him! He could go on for hours! Never boring.  Josette Fusco had French with us and in those classes we really learned something. Wolfgang Achtner who had biology also taught us a great deal about politics and democracy! 

Brian Williams was chairman of the Academic council and ran the school, as far as I remember. There are so many happy memories of all the wonderful people at the school, lessons in the beautiful garden, or downtown in Rome, I can’t choose just one.  What I learned from these years is really hard to say, it’s about how people are and how the world functions, about finding myself and what I want to do, what’s important in life. I’m still in touch with some of my old friends. 


Marina (née Belding) Håkonsson