Brian Le Vaillant, aka BDL, closes innings on teaching

03 Nov 2017

After a 44-year career at Christ’s College, one of the school’s best known figures received a rousing and memorable farewell at the final chapel for leavers today.

Brian Le Vaillant, or BDL as he has been better known for decades, was honoured by Head Prefect, Ben Marshall-Lee who said College had been very fortunate to have his expertise and service for such a long period.

“All have looked up to him, and it is truly remarkable to think that he was teaching fathers of current boys.”

Ben said on his appointment BDL took up the role of head of commerce for nine years and was responsible for introducing economics to the College curriculum.

1983 was an influential year for him, and his first as House Master of Corfe, for which he created the term “the mean, green, academic machine,” said Ben.

Two of BDL’s favourite sayings were “cash is king’ and “want assets, get a job.”

His endeavours for College rugby, rowing and cricket were legendary and four of BDL’s best years at College were from 1987-1990 when College beat Christchurch Boys’ High School every year.

Mr Le Vaillant shed light on his nickname when, thanking Ben for his words, he explained that the original Flower’s boys couldn’t spell his name, so invented the initials that would follow him for the rest of his life.

“They said it meant Bachelor of Designer Lifestyles.”

He said the last time he stood up the front in chapel was the day he got married.

“Chapel is a special place for me and it is one of the many things that make College special.

“If I had not enjoyed working here I would have gone farming or into the business world. What has made College a very enjoyable place to work are the activities outside the classroom, and I have been lucky to be involved in rugby, rowing and cricket.”

He said he had been fortunate to be involved on the rugby union and to take jobs like managing the South Island Secondary Schools tournament.

College, he said, although a small school, punches above its weight and this year had had outstanding results.

He urged the leavers to follow their passion.

“If you get knocked down, bounce back, like this year’s 1st XV. Never say die.”

For those returning, BDL asked that they put away their cellphones at lunchtime and “get involved.”

“In the end, you write your own reference.”

After a standing ovation, BDL was given a spirited haka on the quad by the whole school.