Dear Flint Hill School Families,

Welcome back! I hope everyone had a tremendous holiday season and a joyous new year’s celebration. And I hope you all had a chance to do things that were very different from your daily routines. Whether it was sleeping late, reading a good book, taking a long walk, heading off on a trip, or doing whatever you needed and wanted to do with family and friends, I know firsthand how restorative those experiences can be.

Our holiday was jam-packed in so many ways. We got to spend time with family — lots of kids and grandkids and making new friends. We even had a “white” Christmas up in the mountains of California. It had been a long time since we had seen snow on Christmas morning, and it was as beautiful as we remembered. In addition to the joy we experienced over break, we were also reminded of the loss that is a natural part of life. In fact, I have attended two funerals in the past week and will be attending a visitation tonight. These moments make me realize that life is precious, fragile and to be cherished at all times. There are great moments of enormous success, excitement and triumph. But then, there are also painful losses, complicated situations and very hard times. Ultimately, it comes down to how we confront these experiences. How we respond is often far more impactful than the situation itself, as painful as that may be.

We all have moments like these that cause us to reflect on our lives and the lives of others. Before the holidays, I wrote about “new year’s resolutions.” But these resolutions are really our reactions to the realization that the start of the new year gives us a fresh beginning. At School, even though we are right in the middle of the academic year, something as simple as having to type “2020” instead of “2019” reminds us that this is the beginning of something different. It is a new year and an entirely new decade! It is hard to imagine that The Roaring ’20s was 100 years ago. And now, here we are in 2020, in a world that is filled with improvements, innovation and technology, but also enormous struggles and conflicts. So much of this in our personal lives and in the world at large comes down to people and how we deal with success and failure. I read a long time ago that Mary Pickford, one of the first great silent film actors, once said, “Failure is not the falling down, but the staying down.”

As we move into this new year, let’s all make sure we are continually getting up and charging forward. We need to grab this new beginning and make it fresh and exciting. No matter how the year is progressing at a particular point, good or bad, we need to focus on keeping a positive attitude for ourselves and our families. And let’s remember that good modeling for our children is one of the most important things we can do as parents.

Looking ahead, there are lots of significant events at school coming up. We will have Winterfest early in February, followed by our traditional Founder’s Day ceremony, and the Empty Bowls service event. Our admission season is in full swing, and in fact, we are getting close to sending our re-enrollment contracts for next year and inviting new families to join us for the future. We have some new families joining us for this new semester as well, and we want to welcome them as they join our School family.

What more can we do?

  1. Stay informed. Remind your children to pay attention to our daily announcements, in each division, and to listen carefully at Town Meetings or Inspirations. Let’s find ways to make certain that everyone knows what’s going on here at School. And for parents, attend coffees, read the Weekly Newsletter, and check out our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts.
  1. Be engaged. Find the events that you would like to attend. Come and cheer on our Huskies at games or at concerts. Please take advantage of the fact that we are a part of something far greater than ourselves. Share Flint Hill with friends and neighbors, and tell them about the exciting opportunities that exist here. All of it makes our school family that much stronger.
  1. Take pride in what is happening. While you may not see every single accomplishment that occurs among our students, you can take pride in the fact that we have students here who are working enormously hard and are incredibly productive. Did you know that our Cyberpatriot Team was number one in the state of Virginia, is currently fifth in the nation, and heading to regionals? Do you know that our seniors are hearing more and more about their college acceptances and the fantastic possibilities that are ahead for them? That a sixth grader performed at Carnegie Hall over the break? Or that one of our alumni just competed on Jeopardy this week? And while he didn’t win, he had the incredible opportunity to be on the show and to give it his all. The bottom line is that there is a tremendous amount of activity happening in our community, and we should all be proud of the impact our School is having on others!

The year 2020 is going to be an exciting one! Our amazing Senior Class is truly making its mark. And with the Peterson Middle School building opening next year and renovations to the Hazel Academic building on the horizon, we are in great shape as a school! Add to that the continued efforts by our teachers and staff to instill and inspire a sense of passion through their innovative thinking and teaching, as our students blaze their own trails. Let’s join our students on that journey. Be there to model, to cheer on and to share all that they are accomplishing. Let’s help make this year one of the very best ever for our school, for our families, and for ourselves.

Best wishes for a very happy new year! I look forward to seeing you at School.


John M. Thomas