In May of 2020, I watched as eighth grader Camille DeStefano ‘20 taught her virtual audience all about the benefits of exercise, the perils of sugar, and the dopamine that comes with both. I was—as I am throughout our eighth graders’ Capstone presentations—riveted. I learned a great deal from Camille that afternoon, and ever since, I have paid particular attention to the healthy and not-so-healthy behaviors that send positive and energizing signals to our brains.
This week, I am considering what Camille would think about the notion of sending just such a positive signal not just to my brain but to the community as a whole. Because on Wednesday morning, I witnessed a glorious wave of joy and optimism as family after family, teacher after teacher, and student after student arrived at Belmont Day. Perhaps the source of this signal was our community’s collective resolve to move beyond the days of the pandemic and back to something close to normal, as one parent put it. Or perhaps it was the age-old wonder and excitement that comes with the first day of school and reacquainting ourselves with the rhythm of a school year.
Whatever the source, that energy reverberated through today’s first Friday carlines. Smiling students jumped into their vehicles with stories of reconnection, newly discovered friendships, and breaking bread together, family-style, in Coolidge Hall for lunch. Faculty, inspired by a week of opening planning meetings, offered an early glance at the promised excellence in their classrooms.
There is no doubt—the magic of Belmont Day is back. Time, perhaps, to get Camille back here for a coda to her Capstone: Can the same dopamine generated by a 10K run be achieved simply by reopening school after a restful, joyful summer with an inspired community of learners and leaders? In chorus with the rest of the Belmont Day School community, I would offer a resounding “yes” as she begins her research.
Welcome back, everyone! Have a great year.