From the Circle - Week One

By Tom Wilschutz, Head of School


The first day of the spring trimester, 2020.

Today began for me like most trimesters: outside, greeting my students, with a few high fives. My typical query at the circle is, “how are you?” And the typical answer came my way, even this morning, “Tired.” (You have to be impressed with the amazing consistency of many of our teenagers: always tired.)

Of course, there is nothing typical about the start of this spring trimester, 2020. 

I was not in the circle, but in front of the main office. In the circle this morning were two large trucks taking down a dead tree in front of the library and grinding the wood. Some irony here...I couldn’t even stand my usual post. It is as though all the gods are conspiring in unison.

My students, there were about 50 of them who dropped by this morning...dropping by on Zoom to touch base, say hello, offer a virtual high five, or to tell me they were tired. Pretty cool...50. Some got up and Zoomed in and they didn’t even have an 8:30 class. Pretty cool.

Thank you to the parents who joined me via Zoom on Saturday or Sunday. It was wonderful to see you and to hear what’s on your mind. For our international families who do not speak English—I would like to connect with you as well! We are working on a Zoom call with an interpreter for Mandarin speakers sometime this week—keep an eye on WeChat for more information. We are working on options for our families in Thailand and South Korea as well. 

Look for an end-of-the week communication from me on Friday with Zoom links, updates, and much more as we begin this new adventure. In this moment I am reminded of Commander Spock’s answer to Captain Kirk as they are about to set off on a dangerous mission with a training crew in Star Trek II, The Wrath of Khan. Kirk asks “How will they respond under real pressure?” and Spock responds, “As with all living things, each according to his gifts.” 

This will no doubt be true for all of us as we take our first step on this virtual adventure, and so the message I’ve offered to all of our students, and our faculty, over the past week should be our mantra for this spring: be kind to yourself, be kind to each other, be understanding, be sensitive.

Great adventures begin with a first step, and then a second, and we keep moving forward. 

Happy first day of the spring trimester.