[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Dear Flint Hill School Families,
This week, we are celebrating International Week. The theme for this year is “I am Flint Hill.” It is an exciting time to celebrate all the cultures of the world that make up our amazing School family and show our appreciation for everything that all Flint Hill families bring to our school. We will conclude this celebration on Saturday, March 7, with our International Festival. This celebration is one of the “quiet gifts” that Flint Hill offers to all of our children. When your children go to a playdate or a sleepover, in many cases their friends may be part of a family that comes from another nation. They may hear different languages being spoken around the dinner table, try new foods, learn about new traditions, holidays, etc. Being part of Flint Hill’s dynamic community is a real privilege and allows us all to grow in a much more global and exciting way.
When I look out of my office window in the mornings, I am amazed by the incredible diversity that I see — and that’s only the diversity that’s visible. During my first year here, we conducted a survey that showed us that there were 54 different nationalities represented at the School. This was very unusual at that time, so we decided to honor and celebrate that diversity by hanging flags for the various nations represented in our community on campus. Those flags remain to this day — on both campuses — and serve as visual reminders of the cultural richness of our community.
On both sides of my family, going back as far as we can, we are able to trace our roots to the colonial times in the U.S. But my wife’s family is from the Netherlands, and she is a first-generation American. Her Dutch roots are strong and solid, as her parents were the only ones in their family to immigrate outside of Holland. To some degree, they were refugees from the war after World War II. They settled here and eventually became U.S. citizens, but they held on to their Dutch heritage, in every activity in their home. Visiting their home was like being transported to a Dutch village, with customs, furnishings and trinkets from their home country. And as our own family tree has grown and flourished, its branches have extended to loved ones from around the globe. For example, our nephew married a wonderful woman from Trinidad and Tobago, and our youngest son married an incredible young woman from Nagasaki, Japan.
I’m sure each of our families will share in this experience over the years — the world we live in is more interconnected than ever. But the bottom line is that we have all come together here at Flint Hill. “I am Flint Hill” is a way for us to celebrate that experience and to learn from and with each other. It truly is one of our core strengths as a School family.
So as this week’s activities continue, please join us in cherishing this incredible opportunity to be a part of something far larger than ourselves. We will be meeting in the Upper School Campus Commons, at 3 p.m. on Saturday, for the International Festival. It is a gift to our children, as they will grow up in a world that just keeps getting smaller and smaller. And the impact, comfort and confidence that they will have in connecting with people from around the world will be a huge advantage to them over the years to come.
Best wishes to you! I look forward to seeing you on Saturday.
John M. Thomas