June 12, 2019
Dear Flint Hill School Families,
They did it! They graduated! The largest class in Flint Hill’s history graduated last Friday. It was a beautiful day, both inside the gym and outside. This fantastic class of 151 Seniors, born in 5 countries, 15 states and the District of Columbia, have worked hard and truly made this year a huge success. This class very much followed the motto that they have used in the classroom, in the arts, and in athletics, to prepare, practice and perform. As one faculty member commented, they were all triple threats — smart, hardworking and motivated.
The Class of 2019 made a difference. They were vibrant, dynamic and relevant. They could be loud and hilarious at times. They could be rebellious and passionate. But above all, they were determined, direct and destined to be successful.
This Senior Class included six sets of twins and two non-twin siblings. They ranged in height from 5’1″ to 6’10.” Four were the children of current Trustees, two had a grandparent or guardian who was a former Trustee, and 10 were the children of current or past members of our faculty, staff and coaching staff. There were nine National Merit Scholarship Commended students in the class. These were students who were everything from Eagle Scouts to graphic designers, incredible dancers, artists, and a nationally-recognized equestrian. There were students in this class who had led the way with our Unmanned Aerial Systems Robotics Team. Students who had been published in national publications. Students who have had roles in television and movies. And students who gave a tremendous amount of effort to community service and commitment, not just locally, but around the world.
Seven attended the Virginia Governor’s Schools last year. Six students started here in Junior Kindergarten and were with us nonstop for the past 14 years, 20 started in Kindergarten and were with us nonstop, and 3 started in Kindergarten, left at various points, but returned to graduate with their “first” classmates.
The Class of 2019 is indeed a class of character. This was a class that has had a profound impact on our great school, whether it is in the quality of the arts, the significance of their leadership and the finding of their “voices,” or the incredible eight conference and league championships this year, along with three state titles. Their accomplishments speak volumes to collectively who this class was and who they will become in the future.
They finished their year with Senior Projects — working with mortgage companies, the Washington Wizards, engineering firms, schools, hospitals, country clubs, the Piedmont Environmental Council, marketing at the Hilton, and the Fairfax County Police Department to name just a few. These are students who are ready for the next step. In fact, among the advice that they left behind on Senior Day were simple but profound statements like, “Be authentic. Be you.” “Better to ‘oops’ than ‘what if…’” “Be kind. Be brave. Be yourself. Don’t let anyone hold you back.” “Don’t take everything so seriously; enjoy yourself.” And, “Take advantage of the time here; it really goes by too quickly.”
This class has left us to attend colleges and universities at 74 different schools in 26 states, Washington and Canada. When people ask us about our value proposition or the outcome of a Flint Hill education, these 151 Seniors represented the accumulation and the visible articulation of an incredibly profound, positive and evident educational experience. They will do great things. They have learned how to learn. They are ready for this next phase of their lives, and all the phases ahead. A Flint Hill education is playing for the long game. We are working hard to make sure that our graduates are confident, competent, ethical and caring. Their foundation is a combination of our core values, a developing work ethic, and a drive that will sustain them for the rest of their lives. We want good people, good citizens — that is the hallmark of a Flint Hill education and our graduating Seniors represented that well last Friday.
I hope everyone will look back and take pride in this incredible year that has now concluded. From the accomplishments in each division to the Momentum campaign, it has been exciting, eventful, and with plenty to cheer about. There have also been challenges and tears — this year has truly represented all of the ups and downs we experience in life. But from all of it, we should take pride in what the School has been able to achieve and the quality of the graduates who are now heading to the next phase of their educational journeys.
And as we depart, we know some families and faculty will be leaving us this summer. We wish them well! And a special thank you to Parents’ Association President Doreen Kramer, as she moves on from that role and becomes a parent of alumni. Her caring, enthusiastic, effective leadership has been inspirational. Her years of commitment to service and support have set a standard and will be long remembered. I also want to acknowledge Randy Byrnes, as he steps down this year from the Board of Trustees. His leadership of the Development Committee and direct, focused voice has had an incredible impact. His tenure on the Board has changed Flint Hill for the better.
I wish each and every one of you an outstanding summer. Please take all the time you need to get your energy back. Cherish every minute with your family, because it all really does go by too quickly!
I look forward to seeing many of you all when school resumes in August.
Best wishes to you!
John M. Thomas
About the Headmaster
Since 2005, John Thomas has served as Flint Hill’s Headmaster. He is a graduate of the McDonogh School in Baltimore, Maryland, and holds degrees from Randolph Macon College and Towson University, with a certificate in school psychology from the State of Maryland. He is the co-author of “Psychodiagnostic Evaluation of Children: A Casebook Approach,” and has articles published in the book “Parenting Teens: Collected Essays by Independent School Educators,” published by the Secondary School Admission Test Board. John has served on the Board of Trustees for the Virginia Association of Independent Schools (VAIS) and the Association of Independent Schools of Greater Washington (AISGW) and is a current Board member for Emerging Scholars. He and his wife Emily, a former teacher, have three grown sons and five very energetic grandchildren.