Each year the night before the first day of school, I have an overwhelming recurring fear. After spending more than a year on the admissions process, my fear is simply that a family arrives and drops off a child, but the child is not enrolled and we are not expecting the child. I know it sounds like a long shot, but sadly, I have worked at programs where this has happened.
I was helping out with a summer program at the boarding school in New Hampshire where I was working, and on the day of registration, a limousine pulled up to my dorm. Six Saudi Arabian boys and three Saudi Arabian girls got out of the car pulling about 25 pieces of luggage. None of them spoke English, and when we got someone to translate, the oldest boy explained that two of them had been accepted in the summer program, and the family decided to send the rest of the siblings and four cousins. The summer program was already at capacity and the additional seven children were awkwardly sent home the next day.
Perhaps, I continue to struggle with a bit of PTSD from that limousine arriving, but fortunately, the New School admissions list matched up with the class lists and all is well.
It has been a great first week. I remain thrilled with the sense of normalcy that fills the school. Understandably, some of our students are still adjusting to their new routines, but there is plenty of laughter, joy and friendship developing on this campus. I know the shadow of masks and a pandemic still loom, but the tone in your children’s classes feels as healthy as we have ever felt it, and we can’t thank you enough for your support and understanding.
Over the weekend, I hope we all take a moment to reflect on the tragedy of 9/11. Tomorrow marks the 20th anniversary of this historic and heart wrenching event. None of our current New School students were alive when this event happened, but the impact of 9/11 continues to shape their world. I was in my English classroom on that day, and I had a partial view of Boston’s skyline. As three fighter planes flew over the campus about 100 feet off the ground, the classroom windows shook and a number of my students actually slid under the table for protection.
On the night of 9/11, I was on duty in a freshman boys dorm. It was my first week at a new school, and I was supervising the evening study hall. Around 9:00, Frank Perrine, the Head of School, came onto the dorm floor and went into every room. If the boys wanted to talk, he stayed to listen. If the boys wanted to finish their homework, he simply asked them, “Are you feeling safe? Is your family safe? Is there anything you need from me?” He came back every night for a week and repeated the process. His caring actions shaped how I felt about the culture of the school for the next 17 years, and remains one of the most impactful moments in my career.
It was a challenging time in our nation's history, and our thoughts and prayers continue to go out to the families who lost someone on that day or in the following years of conflict.
In the coming weeks you will be hearing from Kate Olson, Director of Community Engagement, regularly about Harvest Bash. This event has typically been our largest fundraiser of the year, and is always an exceptionally fun evening for the whole community. We are hopeful to have this party on November 13, and we will be following Covid guidance closely so that we can have a safe and fun evening. Sponsorship letters were sent recently, and please click here
in order to learn more.
Back to School Picnic
A week from today, we will be hosting the potluck Back to School Picnic from 4-6:00 p.m. This is a very casual event, and one that is typically very well attended. Please come to meet our new families and reconnect with old friends. We supply burgers and hot dogs. Click here to RSVP and sign up for something to bring.
Thanks for joining us!!
Have a great weekend.