For those new to BDS this year, the location of my office has changed. For my first four years here, I occupied the office at the end of the administrative hallway in the Schoolhouse, where Ms. Parfit, our director of admissions, now resides. The path there is marked by blue handprints, emblems of a tradition that honors the arrival of each new student to the school. Each one dips their hand in blue paint and adds a handprint to the mural that is equal part art and community statement. In September, we will have a backlog to attend to as two groups of students add their prints to the wallthose who joined in 2020 and those joining in 2021.
My new space that looks out on the main circle also carries traditions and history. The dark paneled walls and the slate stone facade are part of the original farmhouse, purchased by the school in 1933, that stands at the heart of the Schoolhouse. In this COVID year, it has given me a window, quite literally, on the daily arrivals and departures and a chance to stay connected to our parents whose time on campus has been limited by the pandemic.
However, there is another benefit to having this perch: it looks out on our flagpole. Most days, I watch sixth grade social studies teacher Dean Spencer, sometimes with students from his cohort, occasionally alone, raise and lower the flag. There is something rather Zen-like and beautiful in its simplicity to watch the flag unfurl from its trifold from my window. Mr. Spencer has taught students the proper folding technique, and the flag is carefully raised without touching the ground. Sometimes, it will be raised to full height and then down to half-mast, a direct response to national guidance, and thankfully, on most days, it is raised and flown at full height. At the end of the day, rather quietly, Mr. Spencer brings the flag down, folding it properly so that the ritual can be completed again the next day.
As we reach Memorial Day, an important day of remembrance of those who have given what Lincoln famously named “the last full measure of devotion” to their country, my view of our flag feels especially meaningful. As we move closer to the end of what has been a long year and enjoy the unofficial start of summer, I hope that you take a moment to reflect on those who have lost their lives in service to our country and honor their memory. When you are back on campus on Tuesday, take a moment to acknowledge the power in the flag flying high at the front of the school each day.