This is a week to celebrate. We will soon point our gaze at next year, but for now let’s reflect together on a year unlike any other.
While the end of this academic year looks different than it ever has, the glow of accomplishment that characterizes this season of the year is undimmed. It is truly time to recognize what happens when passionate and dedicated teachers, coaches, advisors, and staff members work with driven and able students supported by education-minded families who champion our partnership at every turn.
The result, as we all know, is excellence in all of the forms it can take.
Sometimes that excellence is in grades and the fantastic marks that comprise a grade point average. Sometimes that excellence is in the achievement of conquering something that felt at one point unachievable. Sometimes that excellence has nothing to do with academics at all, but rather is about achievement on fields and courts or in theaters and places of service in the community. Sometimes it is visible, and sometimes it is known only within the silence of our own minds and hearts.
Sometimes we realize that, even amongst all of our accomplishments, we fell short in one way or another, wish we had done something differently, or desperately want to make something right with someone else. This is a time of year to reflect and celebrate that as well, for it is these kinds of realizations that will help drive us into our ambitious futures.
And as always, we will especially celebrate certain classes. Our 4th, 8th, and 12th graders have led ably, setting an example for their peers of what learning and serving looks like when done right. They have reached milestones that merit special attention and signify not only the completion of one year but also the completion of a block of years, a program of study and experiences that can be seen as a whole, a whole that leads to a next step. When you are in 12th grade, especially if you are one of our four lifers, you have now reached that last, most coveted milestone.
We are so proud of all of you, those of you for whom this is the result of a lifetime of education, and those of you for whom this is the end of your first year.
It feels like we will never forget the last third of the 2019-2020 school year, that we have suffered something that will never be replicated. We will remember where we were when COVID-19 first became known to the world, and someday we will talk about the remarkable triumph of hard work, service-mindedness, and acumen that leads to a solution.
When that triumph happens and we can all look up with relief, I would urge each of us to think about what we learned this year, from this situation, that will help us all, young and younger, play our role to stop things like this from happening again. We have all learned things this year that will help us help the world, whether it is something about science, something about service, something about courage, something about leadership, or something about creativity.
So please take a moment to reflect on what you achieved this year, public or private, big or small, and celebrate it. You deserve that.
And then pledge to use whatever that is to make someone else’s life better. Because the world deserves that.