August 7, 2019

Dear Flint Hill School Families,

Before I get into my first letter of this new school year, I want to express my sadness and sympathy for the loved ones of those who lost their lives in El Paso and Dayton this week. We continue to live in very challenging and confusing times and I hope you will join me in keeping those who have been impacted in your thoughts and on your hearts.

Despite current events, it is truly wonderful to reach out to all of you as we begin to bring everything together to get this tremendous 2019-2020 school year underway. For those of you who are new to our “school family,” welcome. We look forward to getting to know you and your children well, over the exciting months and years ahead. And for our returning Husky families, I hope you all had time to step away, relax, build up some energy, and refocus on family fun and the important relationships we create as parents and families. These relationships are active, dynamic, challenging, and ultimately, the most rewarding experiences you will ever have.

Over the summer, Flint Hill has been hit by a hurricane of activities. Literally, from the moment the last senior received a diploma, several construction projects were initiated on both campuses … and the new Upper School parking lot was already underway. On the Lower and Middle School Campus, the Miller House now has new flooring in the cafeteria and much-needed new restrooms. We have also repositioned the athletic field on that campus for Field Hockey practice, in anticipation of the road work on the upcoming turn lane from Rt. 123 to Jermantown Road. On our Upper School Campus, there is a new parking lot and traffic pattern, so please be alert to the changes when you come on campus. There is also a new entryway into the building, new flooring, and a very welcoming foyer. And right beside the Upper School building, the new Middle School Building is well on its way to becoming a reality.

In terms of student activity, there have been camps of every imaginable type on both campuses. Once again, Headfirst has done an incredible job of working with us. Add to that workshops, academic classes, gaming and robotics camps; and once again, we hosted the Virginia State Latin Team in its training, in preparation for this year’s National Junior Classics League Convention.

Just as the school year ended, our Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Team competed in another international competition. In case you have not heard, in this year’s competition, 71 universities and four high schools, including Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, participated. The objective was to fly over four miles, avoid challenges and meet set criteria, all in under 30 minutes. And this year, they also had to drop a separate rover carrying a water bottle at a set drop zone, and drive it to a target location. Our great team of students — including  seniors, juniors, a sophomore, and a freshman — did an amazing job once again. They ultimately came in second overall, behind a Canadian university from Quebec. So, for the second year in a row, Flint Hill defended our “national title” by coming ahead of great schools like Harvard, Purdue, Stanford, UCLA, Cornell, Penn State, Michigan, and the United States Naval Academy. For the first time, three Virginia universities entered the competition VCU, CNU and Virginia Tech. Of course, the Virginia Tech team was led and populated with Flint Hill graduates! This tremendous accomplishment is indicative of the hard work and determination of those students, the faculty, and also of our overall program. These are students who have developed tremendous math, science, and engineering skills. So if you see anyone involved in that program, please join me in congratulating them on this incredible accomplishment. We are very proud of them!

Also during the summer, a number of our faculty members either attended programs and workshops or were key presenters at various conferences and workshops. Many have been asked to be speakers at upcoming programs as well. Bottom line, it all reflects the energy, the determination, the Driving Spirit, and the passion that our great faculty have as lifelong learners. There is a sense of purpose about our school that I personally find infectious and, fortunately, contagious. We are a school community that is engaged and spirited. We offer a comprehensive program that is truly value-mission-vision based. And throughout the year, we constantly come back to those core pillars to remind ourselves of why we do what we do, and how important it is that we pull the sled together.

As you can sense, Flint Hill was an active, dynamic place all summer long!  We hope everyone in your family had incredible summer experiences as well. And yet, believe it or not, it is time now to seriously begin to look ahead. And while there are a few weeks left, we all need to begin to prepare emotionally and psychologically for what will be a very active and exciting school year. Thirty years ago, we were reorganized as a school, and from that moment forward, there has been this relentless drive for excellence, and a sense of commitment, and focus all grounded in our core values of honesty, respect, responsibility and compassion. Thank you for being a part of our “team” of Huskies. If we can be helpful in any way in these coming weeks, please do not hesitate to call on me or anyone here at school. We are on this journey together, and together we will make it a huge success.

 

Sincerely,

John M. Thomas
Headmaster