The last few weeks at Vistamar have been filled to the brim. Among all the incredible and important milestones and experiences, a clear standout for me was the time I had at the People of Color Conference/Student Diversity Leadership Conference in Nashville. I returned inspired, connected, and reflective about my responsibility to do the work to promote equity and inclusion, first and foremost, as an individual person in the world, but also as Head of School here at Vistamar. And, of course, we have to do this work together. I’m extremely thankful that we have so many ways to think together, to support each other, and to act together. We do this work through our affinity groups, through our Diversity and Inclusion committee, with the Diversity and Access Committee of the Board, through our curriculum, and in the foundational respect we strive to give to each other daily, in our classrooms, in the hallways, on the court, on stage and in our lives outside of school.
You may recall that we had a visitor here earlier this fall, Trina Brown Gary. We brought her here because we want to understand how our community feels about our efforts to promote a diverse, equitable and inclusive community. She is completing her report now which will capture her reflections of the conversations she had with so many of you during her time at Vistamar. I’m looking forward to receiving and sharing that with you when we return from the upcoming break, and I’m really looking forward to talking with you and hearing your feedback.
So, as I reflect on the past few months at Vistamar, I’m conscious of my responsibilities to each of you and to the school as a whole; to continually work to make sure our interests and priorities as a school and as a community reflect our core values and to work hard to uphold those values for the short and long term.
We’ve triumphantly finished the first trimester, winter sports are off to a great start, and our incredible performers brought the house down at the Winter Concert. I’ve appreciated the countless opportunities I’ve had to learn and listen to so many of you and to better understand the work you’re doing to promote and continuously build our community in thoughtful and aspirational ways.
I hope you’ll also take some time to reflect and to consider the rare and unusual privilege we have to spend our days in a place like this. Vistamar, to me, is a place where we care about each other enough to be honest, a place where, when things are challenging, we’re courageous enough to ask for help and also, because we care, to lend a hand. It’s a place where we look for solutions and ways to help others, here within these walls and beyond. This is a place where we nurture our connections with each other and we identify resources to build and support the things we want do to make this time we have together so incredibly valuable and inspiring.
Vistamar is a place where we want to understand each other; it’s a place where it’s safe to share your stories primarily because we want to know those stories; it’s a place where you’re valued; a place where your ideas matter because your voice needs to be heard.
We continuously create this community by ensuring that we support and nurture the pursuit of all ways of being that create value and hope. I’m reminded that our work at this school is essential as we do all we can to make an impact for each of our students and also in the broader world “out there”. That’s why I do this, and, hopefully that’s why we’re all here. It makes us happy to live a life where we spend our days trying to help others and to promote positive change.
It’s deeply humbling and incredibly inspiring.
Speaking of humility, I’m reminded of something the writer GK Chesterton wrote many years ago:
How much larger your life would be if your self could become smaller in it; if you could really look at other men with common curiosity and pleasure; if you could see them walking as they are in their sunny selfishness and their virile indifference! You would begin to be interested in them, because they were not interested in you. You would break out of this tiny and tawdry theater in which your own little plot is always being played, and you would find yourself under a freer sky, in a street full of splendid strangers. - G K Chesterton
And as we look toward the end of the calendar year and lurch headlong into the holidays, I look back over the past few months with a sense of deep pride and gratitude. I’m reminded every day that my life with you is an expansive and broadening experience, and about how much larger and hopeful the world is for me personally, because of who we strive to become as a community. I love our Essential Question: “How can I learn from you?” And this upcoming holiday, I’m going to take time to reflect on all I’ve learned from you and to find other ways to understand more, and to grow from our work and time together.
I’m also going to spend time with my family, to read, to write, to play my piano, to walk to the ocean and to sleep in from time to time. Thank you for reminding me, once again, how much an intentional, ethical community like ours can do to promote hope and peace so thoroughly in my life and hopefully in yours.