Dear Flint Hill School Families,
At this beautiful time of the year, we all focus on celebrations, lights, our sense of community and togetherness. Whether you just finished celebrating Hannukah or you are looking ahead eagerly for Christmas and/or Kwanza, our attention can turn to the stories that bring these special moments to life. We know that those accounts help all of us to learn more, think more deeply, and consider new and even more exciting paths for our lives.
The Advancement Office has been hard at work creating videos for the Annual Fund about the stories that make Flint Hill who we are today. Throughout this process, we keep hearing more and more stories from parents and students alike about why they are here, why some families have stayed for so long, and why people are willing to make a gift to the Annual Fund. All of these stories make everything we do more personal, meaningful and powerful. Such stories intrigue us and remind us that every one of us is filled with our own personal stories. In each of our families, there are unique stories. I encourage you during this holiday season to take time to sit back and share those great tales with others. Don’t hold back. Even our great school has stories to share! During our admission events, we share stories about our community and connect with prospective families in a very open and direct way.
Last night, I sat at the Orchestra Concert watching all of those great musicians up on stage and thought about the stories they carried with them as they settled into their seats. When did they start to play their instruments? How often do they practice? What made them choose the instruments they play? What has been their experience in class? How long do they plan to keep playing those beautiful instruments?
As I was listening to the beautiful music last night, I remembered a story about our middle son, Patrick, in Second Grade, when he wanted to play the violin. While we worried about it and didn’t expect him to stick with it, we allowed him to rent the instrument and take lessons at school. We told ourselves that we were not going to push him about practice at home, but there would be an occasional reminder. Living and working as houseparents at a boarding school meant time was limited, so we never fully tended to his practice at home. As we attended his final recital, we noticed that Patrick and his best friend, Guy, were seated in the very back of the group. As the program went on, it was my wife, Emily, who noticed that he had his bow on the strings, but he did not seem to move very much. At the end of the concert, we gave him a big hug, told him how proud we were of him, and commented, “You didn’t seem to move very much during the concert” In the bold voice of a second-grader, he said, “Oh no, I didn’t. Mrs. White told Guy and me that we needed to put our bows on the violins and not to move!” There is a story there … and in fact, that was his last semester playing the violin. This is why I marvel and rejoice at all the young musicians who have obviously kept at it and found a passion in their music at this young age.
As we continue through this season, please take time to think about your own stories. Make a point to share them and consider how they have helped define who you are, where your family comes from, and how your success and commitment can help you make a difference in this world. Encourage your children to share their stories with you as well. No matter how young they are, they have stories to share. It is one of the reasons why we ask for nominations for the Driving Spirit Awards each year. We want to hear the stories about faculty and staff who have had an impact and made a difference in the life of your children and your families. If you’d like to submit a nomination, it isn’t too late. Send an email to Ana Yarbrough by Friday.
Enjoy this time of year! Please know that we always want to hear your stories, so don’t hesitate to share them with us.
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 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, three daughters-in-law and four grandchildren.
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