“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.” – Cicero

As we approach Thanksgiving, I figured now would be as good a time as any to articulate that for which I would like to give thanks. Forgive me for writing in a list this week, but then, good writing often changes syntax (at least, that’s my intellectualized excuse)…

On this Thanksgiving, I am giving thanks for…

  • The welcome my family has received. This was a big move for me and my family, and each of us have processed it differently. In every way, the Belmont Day community has made us feel right at home.
  • This faculty. They are the lifeblood of the institution and it has never been healthier and more vibrant. I am grateful for them every day.
  • Big Blue. My office sits in Big Blue’s shadow and the sounds of laughter, song, and pure joy ring through every day.
  • The exposed beams in Coolidge Hall. They stand, for me, as an example of the remarkable facilities we get to enjoy here.  
  • The scoreboard on Far Field. Even if it did read 6-4 students over faculty at the annual soccer game. It is one of the many testaments to the efforts our athletics and physical education teachers are willing to make to ensure our kids feel special as athletes.
  • My Capstone mentee. I haven’t figured out yet who is learning more, but she’s amazing either way.
  • Anderson Santos and Lino Medeiros. This campus looks spectacular at every turn. No small feat for such a lean team.
  • The courtyard logs. Who ever would have thought that a log could be such a valuable tool for learning along the dimensions of Gardner’s multiple intelligences?
  • Cross graded anything. But really, the Halloween parade. Wonderful to see the way older students and younger students take care of one another. And Deborah Brissenden as a salad from the garden was an impressive sight to behold!
  • The Board of Trustees. I have imagined the conversation I will be having years from now about my first Board. They have set an extraordinarily high bar. I cannot imagine feeling better supported by a more thoughtful or caring group.
  • The garden. Integrated into the curriculum at every turn and a powerful reminder of what can happen when you utilize the outdoor classroom.
  • Sharing Assembly rehearsals. Sure, the finished product is amazing in its own right, but the magic of the process happens in rehearsal and is not to be missed.
  • Chef Lightbody and her kitchen staff. Everybody told me, “it’s so good,” and they told me so many times that I started to wonder if this team could match the hype. They had me at teriyaki salmon and sealed the deal with the apple crisp.
  • Eighth grade “Mr. Largay Lunch.” Speaking of food, every other week, the eighth grade students have shared with me their thoughts on everything from a long ago tradition of the ‘lamb’ to their thoughtful processing of the recent election. The picture of the BDS graduate is clear and quite impressive.
  • Neelangi Gunasekera. You’ve heard of the Wizard of Oz? Without Neelangi, I am merely the man behind the curtain. She is incredible.
  • The Barn and the Raise Y[our] Voice Campaign. This has been the fast track to understanding what makes Belmont Day such a special place. It has been equal parts a study of our school’s rich history and a look into its promising future.
  • The pre-k obstacle course. Watching Mr. Geneus’ kids finally earn the opportunity to take on the daunting course of hula hoops and tunnels was pure joy.
  • Annette Raphel and Lenesa Leana. I am standing on broad shoulders and have inherited the responsibility of this special place from two remarkable women.  
  • The middle school art display in the Kiva. From wood structures to dyed pants, the constant reminder of the power of art hangs proudly in the Kiva.
  • Nurse LaRocque’s accuracy. It is not simply that she helps our kids heal, it is that she does so with a precision and accuracy that would make WIlliam Tell jealous.
  • Our afterschool and enrichment staff. They are the epilogue to a day at BDS. The energy, enthusiasm, and joy that rings through the halls as the day ends is contagious.
  • A tireless business and development office. So much of the school’s infrastructure can be invisible in the day today, but they are the ones that make all of the magic happen.
  • The Wall of Clouds. A quick look into the tech office and you will see a glimpse into the future of what education might hold at BDS. It is our own crystal ball.
  • The dynamic duo of Audra McFarland and Hema Ramachandran. The ambassadors of our ambassadors, and the best one-two punch in the business.
  • My “little pumpkin” from the parents’ association. They say the care and feeding of adults is just as critical as the care and feeding of our students. The PA takes this responsibility seriously.
  • The faculty ensemble. To nurture a lifelong learner you need to be a lifelong learner. Watching our faculty perform as an ensemble for the students was a reminder of the power of modeling excellence.
  • The leadership of the school. My board chair, the division heads, the assistant head, Braiding Different Strands, the admin team, this faculty… leadership abounds at BDS, and our kids are the beneficiaries.
  • Our six core values. I see them everywhere. In every child. Every teacher. Every parent. In the very fabric of our building.
  • Our children. They lie at the heart of all of our work.
  • Andy Rentschler and Koreen McQuilton’s patience. I’m getting them this Scoop article at 4:30 on Friday. Just like I do every week. Many thanks to you both.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. May it be a joyous one with friends and family. Safe travels to those of you on the road, and safe home for those of you staying local. Have a great weekend.

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