Dear Flint Hill School Families,

The final step in the School year was completed last Friday, June 12. Commencement 2015 came on a beautiful and hot day with an incredibly powerful ceremony. From student speeches by our Salutatorian and Valedictorian, to an outstanding address by alumnus Major Andrew Mills, Class of 1995, all accompanied by some of the most amazing music you have ever heard, the ceremony was something to behold. On that day, we were able to recognize and celebrate the Class of 2015. It was a wonderful send off for a great class. It was personal, genuine and sincere. Why was this class so special? In very quick order, let me share some facts of this amazing class:

  • 137 students graduated (the largest number in School history). This was a diverse class born in 8 countries and 11 states. Three are children of current or former trustees. Seven were the children of faculty and staff members, and two had parents who were alumni of the School.

It was a class made up of scholars, athletes, musicians, singers, actors, dancers, golfers, writers, filmmakers, videographers, entrepreneurs, ice skaters and above all free spirits, thinkers and dreamers.

  • This class includes a member of the Team USA National Triathlon Team, a National Merit Scholar, a host of Commended Students and Grand Prize Winner from the Virginia Film Festival High School Director’s Competition, to name just a few.

In addition, there were students who led the way for the School to receive the Beta Prize again as the best Latin Program in the State of Virginia. There is a professional animator, Eagle Scouts, a fashion model and students who have already started their own businesses! Twenty-two members of this class are committed to play athletics in college. And in fact, this year alone, our School teams won five Conference Championships, many of which were consecutive Championships.

There is a sense of character in this class. Through all the natural trials and tribulations of adolescence, they rose to the occasion. They took meaningful risks. They were themselves and they made a difference. From the All-School Gathering at the start of the year, to Senior Projects and Senior Speeches, this was a class that promoted and shared open mindedness, high standards, kindness and teamwork.

As they get ready to head off to their colleges and universities, they will take with them the ability to collaborate, a strong work ethic, confidence, independence, an understanding of teamwork, time management skills, our core values and the ability to communicate effectively.

  • In their young lives, they have developed a sense of humor, maturity and wisdom. Their own words probably describe them best — in advice and reflections, they had shared these sentiments with the entire Upper School:
    • “There is no one to impress, but yourself”
    • “Be bold, try something new”
    • “At Flint Hill, you don’t have friends, you have family”
    • “You believed in me, even when I didn’t believe in myself”
    • “Don’t wish time away”
    • “Hard work and effort really pay off”
  • In an English assignment in Mrs. Krug’s class, they were asked to describe themselves in six words. While all are fascinating, let me share several with you:
    • “Tell me no. Watch me succeed”
    • “Sorry I can’t. I have rehearsal”
    • “Sneakers in a crowd of heels”
    • “I belong on old country roads”
    • “Never stop improving until the end”
      And finally:
    • “I can’t be this easily described”

Commencement marks a true transition point. It is an opportunity for families and students alike to come together to share a heartfelt and sincere milestone in their life’s journey. It is always a bittersweet moment. On one hand, we would love for them to stay and continue to grow with us; we will miss them terribly. And yet, they need to take this next step. As parents and as educators, we are always in the process of giving our children and students “roots and wings.” Roots to have core skills, positive personal traits and values. And the wings to successfully carry them to their future adventures. We cheer them on with smiles on our lips and tears in our eyes!

As you all get ready to go on your journey for this summer, please know that we deeply appreciate your support and help on so many levels. Your active engagement allowed us to finish strong at all three divisions. The vast majority of our families will be returning next year to continue this journey once again with us as we begin to build on the energy that the Class of 2016 will bring to us. And to those who will not be back, we wish you all the very best and hope that you remember, “Once a Husky, always a Husky.”

Best wishes to you! Have a tremendous summer ahead.



John M. Thomas