I know it sounds a bit bizaare. Spamalot, a musical based on Monty Python’s Holy Grail , has been nominated for a Tony Award. This, in addition to spring cleaning and changes at work, have had me pondering the concept of Camelot quite a bit lately.
Camelot is an ideal, but is far from perfect. There are often grave challenges, but there are also people committed to doing what is right and necessary, regardless of consequences. In most Camelot situations there is also a dynamic leadership with a vision that goes beyond the expedient. Unlike a Utopian model, a Camelot model also unfortunately includes a period of rapid decline, brought on either through a fatal flaw, betrayal, or tragedy. There will always come a point when things will never be the same, and those heady days will never be recaptured.
There have been many Camelots throughout history besides the archetypal Round Table. Often, whether or not a situation qualifies as a Camelot depends on the participants’ points of view. The JFK Administration has been called a modern Camelot. I’m sure for the former PTL Club members, Heritage USA was a Camelot until the downfall of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker. Each group probably has its ideal time to which it looks back longingly.
As I’ve been cleaning out our basement and stumbling across school yearbooks and other memorabilia, I have been reminded of my own Camelot experiences. Probably the most poignant was at an elementary school where I taught. Our school won numerous awards and grants, and our prinicpal drove us to be the best we could be. One spring it was announced that the principal was to be transferred to another school, much to our dismay. What happened next was a tragedy worthy of an Arthurian legend. Rightly or wrongly, the principal was accused of stealing from her former school and taking materials to her new position. There was an investigation, and she was dismissed from the district. Even though our new principal was very good, and the school would continue to thrive, there was a sense that nothing would ever be the same.
Now we come to the present. Dr. Kathy Howard, for whom I have utmost respect, is leaving to take a new position in Greenville. Her drive and enthusiasm will be sorely missed. There have been numerous other departures from our office of late. Those of us who have been there for awhile bought into a vision for our district. While our new folks are competent educators, change is still unsettling, and we can’t help but wonder if their goals match those to which we committed when we came on board. I guess only time will tell.