Traditionally, I have saved a column like this for a day closer to National Giving Day in November. The seasonal timing was always nice and after a solid two months into the school year, the rationale for why a parent would give to Belmont Day had crystallized. By November, students have found their footing in the classroom, and they feel seen, known, understood, and cared for by their teachers. Connections to other parents have been solidified at socials or by attending assemblies. The hope is that by November, every student and parent feels we are delivering on the promise we make each year.
I thought, however, in this case, why wait? Yes, patience is truly a virtue. And yes, good things do come to those who wait. And yes, we have certainly asked, over the past year and half, and continue to ask for so much patience from everyone reading this column. However, I see the promise being fulfilled each day, throughout the school year and beyond. There is no reason to wait.
This week alone, I observed:
- pre-kindergarten students, joyfully finding artistic inspiration in the garden.
- upper elementary students dutifully working their way through complex and challenging math problems and principles.
- middle school artists designing and painting murals to hang in the Erskine Library for all to see.
- parents rediscovering friends at their grade level socials or on the sidelines of athletic competitions.
- teachers reimagining their curriculum as the constraints of last year begin to fall away, innovating in anticipation of a return to something much more familiar.
The promise is here already.
I marvel at how teachers energetically reimagine and reinvent themselves and their work for a new group of students every year. After a pandemic year that kept us at arm’s length, I marvel at how this community has seamlessly returned to find the joy of camaraderie again. I am inspired by how our children lead the way with resiliency, taking the demands placed upon them by a pandemic in stride. So, each year, I give in appreciation of it all—the excellence in the classroom, the joy in the children, and the caring community that defines BDS each and every day.
So, the natural question I might expect: What about your bias as head of school, Brendan? Yes, of course, my role introduces a certain amount of bias, but I also offer an alternative to the simplicity of that justification. I see the impact of BDS on my kids every day. Since they joined this community six years ago, I continue to see this impact in my seventh grade daughter and even my sons, who began their junior and freshman high school years in September. I see it in how they approach their work, care for their friends, take intellectual risks, find their voice, behave with respect and responsibility, and understand that they contribute to the greater good. And then, after I look at BDS through the lens of my own children’s experience…that's when I put my other hat on—my head of school hat—and I see it in all of our kids. And that, truly, is why I give.
It is my hope, of course, that you see the same in your children because I can promise you that the adults who work with them every day certainly do. And I hope that you will consider supporting the mission, the promise, and the actions that make BDS a very special place.
Thank you! I wish all of you a healthy and joyful long weekend.