Dear Flint Hill School Families,
Every once in a while I try to look for the simplest idea to help me understand life. There is so much that goes on around us that in one moment seems incomprehensible and yet the next minute it seems so direct and obvious. One of the things that crossed my mind recently was the idea that our future is always dependent on our past. It is our past that sets us on the path to whatever may lie ahead. They are intimately linked.
We saw that in vivid detail this past weekend at Alumni Reunion Weekend. It was one of the most successful reunion weekends we have ever had at Flint Hill. If you see Director of Alumni Maria Taylor and the Advancement team, please take a moment to thank them for their leadership and support. We had an incredible turnout from an enormous range of classes, and they all reflected back on key teachers and lessons learned in our classrooms, as well as lessons learned outside the classroom. Graduate after graduate referenced time management skills, a work ethic, the core values that still resonate with them, the sense of empathy that they experienced from various teachers and people here at school, and the sense of confidence that they acquired on their abilities. All came due to their experiences here at Flint Hill. Those traits helped them navigate college and continue to support them in their careers!
The Class of 1969 celebrated its 50th Anniversary! They came out in mass and shared story after story about their time during the early Flint Hill years. Many of them referenced Col. Ferguson-Warren, who was the head of the English Department, and how they feared him at times. But he was a man who they knew truly wanted only the best for them. His lessons took root and helped lead them to the successful careers they have had throughout their lives. Some of our most recent graduates from the Classes of 2009 and 2014 — who also came out in mass — are beginning their journey into their careers, and they all talked about faculty and staff, many of whom are still here at Flint Hill in the Lower, Middle, and Upper Schools. They shared that their teachers’ efforts indeed were evident in their successes at their colleges and universities and now, as they have all entered the workforce. They openly credited Flint Hill for many of the traits and values they learned as being critical factors to the foundation for the success they are experiencing today.
And you can’t read any of the newsletter updates on the Momentum campaign and not get a sense of this reality as well. While the entire campaign is focused on our future and its tipping point in the history of our school, it is the past experiences of parents, past parents, and alumni that have propelled and prompted people to donate at the incredible levels in which they are making contributions. Recently in a note to faculty and staff, Meredith VanDuyne, our director of Institutional Advancement, shared some of the comments that people have included when they made their generous donations. People have commented that it was specific experiences in the past or right at this moment that have inspired them to join us in this “Herculean” effort. Let me share just a sampling of some of those comments:
- “Flint Hill definitely shaped me into who I am today, and I want to make sure FHS continues to provide the same solid educational foundation for the next generation.” — Alum ’13
- “Love how Flint Hill continues to push the boundaries in academics, athletics, student life and overall everyday life. It makes me very proud to be a Flint Hill alumnus, and I can’t wait to see what the wonderful people behind all of this success have in store next.” — Alum ’08
- “Our happiness with the education two of our children have received and a third will soon benefit from as well. It truly feels like our school “home.” — Current parent
- “We are very grateful to the teachers, staff and students at Flint Hill who welcomed (our child) several years ago and helped him to have such a positive experience at the school. Flint Hill really nurtures, celebrates and further inspires that love of learning that many kids have but often lose in bigger, less personal high schools. So glad we found Flint Hill!” — Alumni Parent
Bottom line, our past experiences ALL serve as the foundation, the inspiration, and the soil for our future dreams, accomplishments, and opportunities to take root and to flourish. Past and future are what make our present take shape. And it is that combination that propels us forward and structures our journey in life.
And, this Friday, in the Upper School, we will celebrate Senior Day. It is the last formal day that seniors will have here in our Upper School, before they head out on their month-long Senior Projects. This is the final leg in their journey to Commencement. Their past here has prepared them well for the future they will have at colleges and universities all around the world next year. Their past has them totally prepared for their exciting future ahead!
I am sure, as you read this note, that you all took time to think about our past and the impact individual people and events have had in shaping us, in some cases, in the most profound ways. Please enjoy the start of the season. Please thank everyone you know who is taking part in the Momentum campaign or still contemplating being a part of it. Please encourage people to be a part of it; there is still time. And if you see a senior, wish them well, as this leg of their educational journey comes to a close.
Best wishes to you!
John M. Thomas