Dear Flint Hill Families,
I hope you all enjoyed the phenomenal weather this past weekend. For the first time, I truly started to have confidence that we have turned the corner and spring is finally here! It was a jam-packed weekend with lots of activities for students and faculty alike. All that energy around our campus, combined with the nice weather, made me stop and reflect on how fortunate we are to have so many wonderful examples of our core values right in front of us each and every day. To give you an idea of what crossed my mind, consider this:
Compassion. On Saturday morning, I witnessed one of the largest Special Olympics Track & Field events in this region of the country. Athletes from young children to adults took part in a very exciting and well run track meet. Our students were there to help, guide, coach, hug and support the athletes in their efforts. The compassion and care that I saw throughout the day were very impressive, and I feel that way each year when we host this annual event. I know the engagement with these outstanding athletes will truly have an impact on everyone’s lives. To see the joy in the athletes’ faces for their accomplishments, regardless of place or distance, truly makes you put things in perspective. You appreciate and value how much we all can gain by sharing with each other. It is the journey in life that is important. While the journey for these athletes is different from the journey our students face, this experience, focused on compassion and care, is a valuable one for anyone who volunteers to help.
Respect. On Saturday evening, we hosted the largest gathering ever of Flint Hill alumni from our Falcon years. Prior to our reorganization in 1990, we were known as the Flint HIll Preparatory School Falcons. On Saturday evening, alumni from the 1970s to 1980s returned to campus to celebrate former Headmistress and English teacher Frances Casey. A group of her former students and faculty raised money to commission a portrait of Fran, which was was unveiled at the event and now hangs in the hallway outside my office. The respect that we, as a School, demonstrated by making certain that everyone knew how much we valued her leadership 25 years ago, and how we are building on the foundation that she, her fellow faculty and staff, and students built, was important. It was also inspiring to see the respect that those former students and faculty held for Fran. She was an outstanding educator, a remarkable woman, a strong leader and someone who left an invaluable legacy here at Flint Hill.
Responsibility. All of our major music groups — bands, orchestra, choir and percussion — went to Nashville last weekend to take part in a major music festival. As expected, our students did very well there. It is a huge responsibility to make certain that we expose our students to opportunities to push themselves out of their comfort zones. This event, during which they were evaluated by university professors and competed against other talented groups from eight states, certainly achieved that goal. It was a very successful weekend, and while we held the responsibility to expose them to this opportunity, they rose to the occasion. At the same time, they had a responsibility to do their best and they did! Here are the results:
- Percussion won Gold
- Choir won Gold
- Jazz won Silver
- Symphonic won Silver
- Orchestra won Silver, Second Place
Min Park, a member of the Jazz Band, was awarded the “Maestro Award” for soprano saxophone. This honor was awarded by judges for the best soloist and featured players. Special thanks go to all the faculty and staff who helped support our students on this trip to make it possible. That responsibility on their part to support and chaperone students on such an adventure, always goes above and beyond the normal expectation.
Honesty. This core value is embedded in all that we do. To be honest, you will never experience a musical concert — professional or school-focused — like the one we will offer tonight at George Mason University. Or see athletes compete as hard as our Huskies do during each and every game or match. Honesty is key in our classrooms, throughout the arts and athletics, and is a significant component to how we share our compassion, respect, and sense of responsibility with each other.
Our core value are not just words or marketing clichés. They are four words that we live by and breathe daily, in everything we do. I am sure if you sit down and think of all your experiences just today, you could probably break them down into examples of compassion, respect, responsibility and honesty.
I hope to see many of you tonight at the Arts Jam Concert at George Mason University. It should be an amazing evening. There also are a lot of events, activities and games going on in April. From the Grade 5 and 6 Play on April 17 and 18, to the Upper School Photography and Digital Arts Reception on April 20, and our Springfest on April 25; it all makes for a busy and productive time of the year. The list is endless, but please check your calendars and the weekly newsletters for upcoming events. Join us whenever you can and take part whenever possible. There are lots of athletic games almost each day! I just want you to know that you are clearly part of a school that lives and breathes its values.
Best wishes to you!
John M. Thomas