Earlier this month, our community gathered to celebrate the accomplishments of this year’s Alumni Achievement Award recipients and Athletics Hall of Fame inductees.  I was asked to open the event with a quick welcoming address.  Now let me be honest with you: public speaking is an area of awkwardness for me, and so I worry. What if I turn red? What if I fumble through my words?  What if …? This moment weighed heavily on me because we were joined by dozens of alumni, former faculty, and friends and family, in addition to all of our current Middle and Upper School students, faculty, and staff.

I chose to keep my opening remarks short, sweet, and to the point.  However, in hindsight, I made an interesting observation that I wanted to speak to, but could not formulate the words in the moment.  For many alumni who were back on campus, facilities upgrades and aesthetic changes made the school look different.  The auditorium seats are not the seats they once sat in.  The character flags had no meaning to them, other than being colorful decorations.  We have a brand new McCormick Auditorium Commons.  The stairs to nowhere finally lead to somewhere.  Once our alumni adjusted to the superficial changes, they started reconnecting with the school and each other in unique ways.  They looked closer, and noticed friends they had lost touch with, current and former faculty who inspired and shaped their education, and current students wearing athletics jerseys for that day’s game.

As they started looking closer, I saw how much our institution means to our alumni.  They care for the preservation and advancement of our school.  And they care about our current students.  And our current students noticed.  Students had the opportunity to see how much our alumni enjoy reconnecting with their former teachers and classmates.  They were watching our alumni. It is my hope, that through the love of our alumni and their good will back to the school, our students will see the benefits to taking advantage of their time here, soaking up every moment, and finding inspiration in the faculty and classmates around them.

Thank you, alumni, for sharing the day with us, and for taking a closer look.