I have already discovered one of my favorite 2021-2022 school year moments. One of those moments that you try to hold on to and recall for the sheer joy of reliving it. I was with the 10th-12th graders and we were on our orientation adventure of rafting and camping. I was outside and heard across the field one of our students sing out a line from the musical Hamilton:
“Look around, look around. How lucky we are to be alive right now.”
Something about that moment, something about being outdoors in nature with these incredible kids after all that the past 20 months has wrought. Something about this lyric in particular for this time, with these children who are growing up at this time--I want to hold onto that throughout the year. Because, yes. We need to look around and look around again and see how lucky we truly are to be alive right now, because we have the opportunity to do good in the world and make positive change in each other’s lives.
This concept connects so deeply to our credo and the expectation that Sparhawk students are ‘courageous in the face of unknowns’. Here we are again at the start of a year that could hold much that is unpredictable and yet, we are also with students who demonstrate daily that they are courageous, no matter what they may face.
Now some of you are returning families with children who know us well. Sparhawk can feel like a second home. Students who grow up here are known well and know us well in return. They know the nooks and crannies of each building and campus, they know their teachers' personalities and expectations. We currently have a former graduate who is interning at the Upper School and it is so comforting to see how he has fallen back into the ease of being in our community. These students and families know our quirks and routines and that makes the start of school somewhat more predictable.
And then some of you are new to us. A new school can be exciting and wonderful; a new school can be intimidating and challenging; a new school is a transition, sometimes easy, sometimes hard, but always somewhat unpredictable as your children learn the norms of Sparhawk School and are enculturated into our style of education. I would imagine that some of your children have gone home and spoken effusively about their new friends and classes. And there are others who have gone home anxious about all of the newness, not quite yet connected to the community. We understand this and are ready to help your children find joy in their day, connection with their peers, help with their studies, and see that school can be fun. For some, these beginning of school jitters will subside quickly, but for others, this is just the start of their journey. And though we have only known your children a week, we are glad they are here and we are committed to helping them succeed academically, socially, and emotionally. We will rely on building partnerships with your family in order to best understand what your child needs in this new school, for though we are quick studies, we have only known them a week! But, wow, what a wonderful week it has been,.
We are, indeed, “lucky to be alive right now” and to be in this community together. It will be that working together that best helps these children reach their full potential. I look forward to knowing you, knowing your kids, and in turn, you getting to know me, my colleagues, and our community.
You are in the right place and we are so glad that you are all here.