Dear Flint Hill School Families,
As busy as things have been for us at school over the last few months, there have been moments when, inevitably, each of us has experienced some stress. Both positive and negative things happen every day in our personal lives, our work environments and our school experiences. As we get older, we are challenged to learn to cope with life’s stresses in positive, healthy ways.
One of the ways I have always dealt with stress has been to take a step back, take deep breaths, and think about all that I am grateful for in life. That sense of gratitude always seems to help me get centered and refocused. William Arthur Ward is an educator from the early 20th century who composed some inspirational maxims that have always inspired me. One of my favorite lines from him is “Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” As I was thinking recently about how busy we have been this year, I stepped back and thought about an enormous array of things for me to be grateful for, and the mere thought of them just totally re-energized me. Obviously, my family is at the top of my list, but school activities and events are there as well. And people. It is always the people here at Flint Hill and in my life who inspire, impress and energize me, due to the gratitude I feel for their kindness, commitment and energy!
What do you think we should be grateful for here at Flint Hill? The list could be endless, but if your list is anything like mine, I am sure it includes enormous gratitude to everyone who has participated in the Momentum capital campaign — from the people who demonstrated incredible generosity and financial support for our wonderful school to make this amazing dream possible to the leadership of the Advancement Team, who organized the entire campaign. I am also deeply grateful to the Peterson family for their inspiring gift, which inspired, motivated and challenged all of us to step up in ways we had never dreamt possible. The gratitude for all that has come together to make this campaign a reality is sincere and real.
On Senior Day, last Friday, our Seniors were giving their final thanks to the teachers and the School and leaving parting words of wisdom for the underclassmen. I felt gratitude for those great Seniors. I have known a number of them since they were in Junior Kindergarten and Kindergarten. Others, I have gotten to know along the way. Above all, I am grateful for the hard work, determination, commitment and Driving Spirit that all of them have demonstrated in reaching this point in their educational journey. They have had a real impact on Flint Hill, and we have learned with them and from them throughout their careers.
I am also grateful to all the students and faculty who helped put together this year’s Upper School musical, “The Music Man.” Words cannot fully express how incredible the performance was. It was professional, powerful and personal. The music was outstanding, and the talent required of our students to carry that show flawlessly was impressive.
I would also add to this list the amazing array of colleges and universities our Seniors will attend, the success of our spring athletic teams, and the leadership we are seeing already from our underclassmen as they prepare to lead the School next year!
Our younger Huskies also fill me with gratitude. Last week, Lower School students and teachers participated in trips to Williamsburg, and they regularly put up some of the most inspirational bulletin boards I have ever seen. Our students are learning just by walking through the hallways. Their constant commitment to making learning at Flint Hill personal, meaningful and real is exciting to see. I am grateful, as I know many of you are, for the incredible educational foundation provided in the Lower School.
In the Middle School, we had service trips that took off. Eighth-graders did their Service Share event last Friday, where they talked about the yearlong service projects that many of them participated in. It is always incredibly powerful to hear about what they are accomplishing and the maturity and growth that they have developed throughout their time in our Middle School.
Tonight, we will host our Grades JK-12 New Parent Information Night. It is going to be a great opportunity to welcome many of the new families who will be joining us next year. They will get a chance to begin to think about what the experience at Flint Hill will really be like for their families and how important it will be for them to engage and actively participate in their children’s educational experience. We should all be grateful for the opportunity to welcome new people to join our school family; the opportunity to share Flint Hill with new students and their families always brings a smile to my face.
The list could go on. But the bottom line is that gratitude can work for all of us! We need to step back sometimes, even in the midst of overwhelming pressures, and realize how much we have to be grateful for in life. Whether it is the beautiful weather we have experienced recently, the sense of momentum on campus, as we begin to expand the Upper School parking lot and prepare to break ground for the new Middle School, and the sense of energy that keeps us going, as the school year draws to a close. All of it makes us feel deeply appreciative of this school family. Here is another great line from William Arthur Ward, that states, “Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”
Being at Flint Hill is a blessing; it is truly a unique institution among independent schools. Thank you for everything you do and for every contribution you and your wonderful families have made. It truly makes a difference in the lives of the students who are so fortunate to be here at school. This Friday, we host Grandparents and Special Friends Day for the Lower and Middle Schools. Our gratitude for both events should have us smiling for weeks to come. Thank you!
Best wishes to you!
John M. Thomas