It’s so easy to go negative. In fact, it’s too easy. Even when we aren’t in a pandemic, stress and anxiety lead humans to go a little dark. But, when we are trying to navigate COVID-19, and we are so painfully aware of the things we cannot do, it’s understandable that we can get cynical and negative.
So, I encourage you to do what I did this week and reflect on what brings joy and gratitude. A quick internet search, and you can find some great lists on “good things that happened in 2020.” There is the story of the 103-year-old woman who survived COVID-19 and toasted with a beer. There was an account of more than 900 people paying for other customers’ meals in the drive-thru of a Dairy Queen. The amazing musical Hamilton was released as a movie! We were inspired by our healthcare workers for their bravery and compassion. Americans cheered loudly every night, expressing their gratitude. Although initiated by a series of terrible events, more Americans began to have conversations about racism in this nation, and books on anti-racism topped best-seller lists. Figures like Dr. Anthony Fauci served as role models on how to put others first; he has inspired thousands of young people to want to be doctors. Space X launched two astronauts into space. Athlete Chris Nikic became the first person with Down Syndrome to complete an Ironman triathlon. And, Sarah Fuller of Vanderbilt University (my graduate school) became the first female to score in a Power Five football game.
At Colorado Academy we definitely faced challenges. But we shared good things too:
- The sound of laughter echoes across our campus!
- Michael Gadlin, a leading African American artist in Denver, shared his incredible work in the Ponzio Arts Center as a resident artist.
- The Boys Golf Team won the 3A State Championship for the first time in the school’s history.
- Steve Scherer’s Advanced Acting class put on a physically distanced, yet in-person play, Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind, and lifted our spirits.
- Senior Michael Ford and Sophomore Hudson Parks went undefeated as tennis doubles partners and took home a State Championship.
- Eighth Grader Alyssa Song created a video game for a class project and within weeks learned that her game had been played more than 30,000 times.
- Five CA student-athletes committed to Division I sports teams. We expect many others in this year’s Senior class to play Division III athletics in college.
- The Big Draw happened, and for two days in October, students of all ages created artwork around the theme of humanity’s relationship to the environment.
- Junior Helen Blake organized a Veterans Day program for Upper Schoolers that brought two CA alumni to speak to students about their service to our nation.
- Theo Wilson, a Denver-based speaker, poet, writer, and actor shared his story of channeling his experience facing racism into positive action, making our society better as part of PlatFORUM.
- A number of Seniors are getting positive news of college admissions as I type these words!
- New CA families connected over Zoom, and despite not being able to get together, CA held more meet-ups this year for multicultural families and students than we have ever held in person.
- Middle School students created a Gratitude Tree whose leaves capture all they are grateful for.
- The Lower School Halloween Parade was one of the best on record.
- Seniors welcomed Freshmen, and Seniors were introduced to their Kindergarten Buddies (in person!) proving that CA traditions can’t be stopped.
- Families rallied for our most successful CA Gives Day and for Horizons Wine & Shine.
- Many Seniors found creative ways to conduct their Community Impact Projects.
I could go on and on, as there are many, many more individuals and projects to recognize. I am so grateful for our teachers and staff who work hard every day to support learning and our students. I know the pandemic has put great pressure on all of us—students, parents, and faculty. But, with the vaccine and student COVID-19 testing, we have more good news and more good days ahead. There are a lot of “good things” to be positive about. We need to rejoice in them.