In a conversation with a student this month, we were discussing what she was going to do over the summer. She has a litany of activities planned, but the conversation eventually got around to what she was thinking about for next year: Who would be in her class? What teacher would she have? How much harder will the work be? And, yes, what would it be like with a different “principal?”

I have had many such conversations on a yearly basis since I began working with students over 40 years ago. However, for the first time, I really found myself able to clearly and personally identify with a student’s concerns. As I have been looking at what will happen for me upon my retirement after this academic year, I have been asking myself very similar questions: Who will I be spending most of my time with? Who will I seek out for advice when needed? How will I like not having to go to work every day? What will it be like to manage my day without having a set schedule? And, yes, what might it be like knowing someone else is doing what I did for so many years?

While I think I may have answers to most of those questions, what became more evident to me was the benefit I had of friends and colleagues who offered advice, answered my questions and, more importantly, just took the time to listen!  I strongly believe even more that children need someone to listen. Parents, this time of year can be both exciting and stressful for children. The excitement of the upcoming summer vacation can sometimes be overshadowed with the unanswered questions and concerns they face for the future. Please find and take the time to “check in” with your children. You can be the one to offer advice and maybe even answer some of their questions, but most importantly you can be the one who listens!

I am confident that you can do this because I have had the honor, privilege, and benefit of working with you in supporting your children on their academic, social, and often emotional journey here at the Academy. I will forever fondly remember the role you allowed me to take in assisting your children in becoming the people they will be. Please accept my sincere and heartfelt appreciation for your partnership and support over the years. Throughout the years, I have sought smiles from my students which always made my day better. I now know that the memories of Harrisburg Academy will be the “smiles” that will make my future days better!

Thank you all!

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