Brendan Largay, Head of School

On Being a Primary Source

In those fleeting moments when I have the audacity to look up and try to add a little perspective to all we’re experiencing today, I think about what students will be studying thirty years from now, when our students who are currently walking through the halls of Belmont Day are parents of a new generation of learners. I imagine that the conversations around the dinner table will revolve around questions like, “What was it like to live through the pandemic?” and “What was school like? Did you really all have to wear masks and stay six feet apart and get tested and…”

Our children, and indeed, we as parents, are not just living through an unimaginable period of global history, we are the primary sources that history teachers will turn to in the coming years to talk about the COVID-19 pandemic. 

So what might the history books write about us?

As a moment in time globally, there will certainly be plenty to say about the macro-forces at work: which nations responded in which ways? Which were successful and which were not and why? What role did the field of biotechnology play in vaccine development? But the stories of the day will be what those learners, those students of history, will want to know. So, when the dust settles on all of this, what will be your answer as a primary source to the question: what did you do during the pandemic?

I am so grateful that at Belmont Day, part of the answer will be that we designed a thoughtful plan that mitigated risk by implementing innumerable safety procedures. We relied on the expertise of excellent educators and the effort of a dedicated group of adults from a whole host of professions to make possible what at times seemed impossible.

I am also grateful that we are making great use of one of the most beautiful campuses in the Boston area by getting outside and reacquainting ourselves with nature after a summer of battling with the lure of screens. But more than anything else, I am grateful that we are working together in person, and have returned to a learning environment deeply committed to inspiring and challenging each and every one of our students.

Below is the list of people who made this reality possible with their deep dedication to and care for Belmont Day and its students. We couldn’t have done it without them.

And to our community members of the Jewish faith, I wish you a joyful Rosh Hashanah. May it be a new year of peace, reflection, and growth. 

Thank you to those who served on leadership and reopening planning committees:

  • Brad Abruzzi P ’20 ’22
  • Jason Brauner, MD  P ’21 ’23
  • Ellie Brennan, lower school learning specialist
  • Deborah Brissenden, assistant head of school and director of curriculum and instruction
  • Nicole Buck, middle school Latin teacher
  • Fred Colson, director of finance
  • Brit Dewey P ’19 ’21, trustee
  • Sasha Ebrahimi, PhD, P ’22, trustee
  • Pati Fernández, director of development
  • Jill Finnerty ’84 P ’17 ’20, trustee
  • Blair Fross, director of after school and enrichment programs
  • Liz Gray, middle school division head
  • Minna Ham, lower school division head
  • Tom Hancock P ’09 ’26, trustee
  • Elinor Hannum, middle school math teacher
  • Sally Harriss, middle school learning specialist
  • Lana Holman, grade 4 teacher
  • Carlos Hoyt, PhD LICSW, director of equity and inclusion
  • Ingrid Katz, MD, MHS, P ’22
  • Yui Kitamura, music teacher
  • Brendan Largay, head of school
  • Liz LaRocque, RN, NCSN, school nurse and director of health and wellness
  • Tara Lightbody, chef and kitchen manager
  • Koreen McQuilton, director of communications and marketing
  • Leesa Mercedes, PhD, school psychologist
  • Emma Nairn, grade 5 teacher
  • John O’Neill, director of athletics
  • Kate Oznick, pre-kindergarten teacher
  • Betty Pryor, kindergarten teacher
  • Bea Rooney, director of summer programs
  • Susannah Rowe, MD MPh, P ’21
  • Dolly Ryan, director of technology
  • Anderson Santos, director of operations
  • Jim Walker, associate director of communications and marketing
  • Angel Williams P ’24 ’26, trustee
  • Heather Woodcock, director of the associate teacher program
  • Liza Ziering, pre-kindergarten teacher and lower school reading teacher

Thank you to the staff at CIC Health, Cataldo, and the Broad who are providing the testing services that are an essential part of our safe return to campus.

And finally, thank you to the entire faculty, those that have joyfully returned and those that have newly joined us. You are embracing the opportunities and challenges of this year with grace, courage, creativity, and energy to provide an excellent program for our students.

Giving Thanks

On Tuesday, we will gather for our annual Thanksgiving assembly—an opportunity to express gratitude as a community.

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