With Labor Day in the rear-view mirror, I find myself wondering what will change with the coming of fall. (Besides not wearing white…is that even still a rule?) Against the backdrop of the isolation brought on by the pandemic, and the divisiveness brought on by our national politics, the efforts of our school as we settle into this academic year seem to border on the heroic. We are reminded that what brings us together are our shared beliefs—beliefs that define who we are as a school community.
The belief that we can choose growth
In his August 31 letter to the community about inclusivity, Colorado Academy Head of School Dr. Mike Davis talked about learning from, and building on, our past, in order to create a culture where all feel equal and respected. And recently, at our first PA Coffee Talk, our amazing CA counselors shared with parents how they provide support for our students, as they struggle to find meaning in their experiences and grow from them. As our school and our students work to grow and improve, we can do the same. We can ask ourselves, What would kindness look like here? Or, Can I choose the path that requires courage? And we can respond to our own stumbles with openness, humility, and a desire to grow.
The belief that we are better together
Even though our time together is greatly reduced this year, and we are all becoming accidental Zoom experts, we can be intentional about building each other up, giving encouragement where it is needed, and being lavishly appreciative. Our teachers are a good place to start, as they are going the extra mile every day, teaching with compassion and joy, while holding chaos at bay. And I am also grateful for our Class Leads across all three divisions, who have been working hard to welcome new families and to keep our parents informed, with each change, each new schedule, each pivot.
The belief that we’re meant to serve more than just ourselves
It’s easy to talk about service, but we are fortunate to have dedicated volunteers who put that talk into action and work for the good of our community. Recent examples are our Homecoming Chairs, Whitney Ladd and Tricia Vath, who helped us celebrate our community in the age of distancing (with Chef Paul, who provided a fun Zoom Tailgater cooking class, and our first-ever Homecoming Photo Contest); and our Think & Drive Chair, Cindy O’Donnell, who, along with Upper School Vice Presidents Jeanne Coleman and Brenda Alexander, organized a timely driver safety program for our young drivers.
These shared beliefs provide a foundation for our school community—a community that is not just well-informed, but thoughtful; not just well-connected, but caring. Upper School Class Lead Amy McPheeters recently told a group of Sophomore Class parents that, in times like this, it’s even more important to engage as a community. The truth of that statement caught my attention, and I’ve thought about it many times since. I am lucky to get to work with parent volunteers who consistently inspire me, and together, to serve a community that helps us grow as people.