As I was driving around our campus last Friday, I couldn’t help but notice the sun shining on the new mural on the Lower School building, the one that says “A Place To Do It All.” The brightness and bold colors of the mural jumped out at me, probably because we had such a long and dreary winter. As I continued on the road, I began to think of other reasons why this viewing of the mural in the spring sun was so important to me in a metaphorical sense.
Every academic year, our students, faculty and parents, in essence, come together and metaphorically paint a mural collectively, which represents who we are as an institution. This year, I would argue that the central theme to this “mural” would be goodness. Goodness permeates everything we do here at the Academy.
This spring, our baseball team has demonstrated great skill, but more importantly, goodness in all of their activities. For example, an opposing team’s coach took the time to praise the players on our team for their comportment, class and goodness. The opposing coach said despite the fact that his team was being beaten badly by our team, our players never made them feel small or inadequate. In fact, the coach paid us the highest compliment by saying that he hopes that one day his players will come to emulate our players in good sportsmanship.
In the school musical this year, we had a Grade 4 student who had a lead part in the play. While his performance was extraordinary (He sings like an angel!), his great joy came from the fact that all the Upper School students were so kind and good to him throughout the whole production. The starring role meant less to him than the process of making the production, which could be characterized by the generosity, goodwill and graciousness of his older peers.
When I get to visit classes, they are all filled with goodness and comfort. I have yet to see someone make a face or snicker at any moment in class, and, believe me, there are some pretty lively discussions going on in these spaces. I think that the secret for goodness in the classrooms is that our students don’t tolerate cliques and also allow each and every individual to be true to themselves. In short, all of us are willing to accept others on their own terms and are enriched by their tolerance.
Finally, because our students come from homes where parents rank education and goodness as equals, and not mutually exclusive, we are all able to thrive in a non-threatening environment and pursue dreams individually and collectively. I am most proud of the fact that our students do it all, but even more proud of the fact that goodness permeates everything they do here, without even a speck of pretension.
The magic of the Academy, in a nutshell, is that as a collective family we appreciate what a privilege it is to be a part of the goodness in this community. It can only happen here!