Dear Flint School Family,
Last Friday’s Senior Day was a very special day in the Upper School. Per tradition, that morning, Seniors enjoyed breakfast together as a Class away from School. They opened letters that they had written to themselves at the very beginning of the school year and began to fully realize that they are at the threshold of graduation. When they returned to Campus, the entire Upper School gathered in the gym to watch the “Senior Video.” This is a production that students put together as a visual representation of their senior year. It displayed pictures of some of our Seniors when they were younger (in the Lower and Middle School), intermixed with shots of them in their current activities here at School.
The most powerful part of the day, however, was when the Upper School student body, faculty and staff gathered in the Commons to hear a number of Seniors give their parting words of reflection or advice to the underclassmen. It was a special, private moment between students and faculty. It was touching, warm, honest and emotional. In many cases, there were tears. Students’ voices began to quiver as they tried to express how much the School or an individual student or faculty member meant to them. There may not have been a single faculty member in the building whose name wasn’t mentioned at some point. They were thanked for what they had provided to students, and underclassmen were encouraged to take their classes in the future. Seniors talked about what they love about Flint Hill and whom they will miss. Many wore sunglasses, thinking that somehow, the glasses would shield them from the embarrassment of tearing up at this emotional, but very powerful moment. It was interesting to hear how a number of Seniors had vivid memories of sitting in the Commons as Freshmen, listening to Seniors say goodbye and thinking that it would be forever before it was their moment… and here it was! It was their turn.
There were lots of poignant comments shared. The advice was powerful:
- “There is nobody to impress, but yourself.”
- “At Flint Hill, you don’t have friends. You have family.”
- “You walk these halls because you want to. Make the most of it.”
- “Being a gentleman never goes out of style.”
- “Just live to be better.”
- “You believed in me, even when I didn’t believe in myself.”
- “Be bold – try something new.”
- “Talk to someone you normally don’t talk to.”
- “Rethink the goal of success.”
- “Redefine it.”
- “Don’t be afraid to take risks.”
- “Don’t waste your time away.”
- “It sucks, but hard work and effort really does pay off.”
- “I regret every dance or game that I didn’t get to.”
- “I am always grateful for the smiles I see when I walk down the halls.”
- A quote by John Lennon was shared: “The time you enjoy wasting is never wasted time.” And a quote by Winnie-the-Pooh: “So lucky to have something that it is so hard to say goodbye to.”
- “Do your homework. It is really easier if you do.”
- “It is a privilege to go to a private school. Thank your parents when you have a moment.”
On and on, Seniors talked about how powerful Flint Hill’s impact has been on their young lives. They reminded underclassmen to take appropriate risks, try something new, and to push themselves out of their comfort zones. Many mentioned how it always sounds trite to say time goes by too quickly, but they realized it really does. They referenced tough moments in the past when in some cases they had to be away from school for various reasons, and how much it meant to them to come back and to be welcomed by everyone. The fact that they could be open and honest about all of those moments spoke to the kind of program our children are fortunate enough to be involved with, and the level of compassion and respect students and faculty hold for each other. It is a special moment in the year and one that I love. It is amazing to see the students giving shout-outs to their friends and to the faculty for how much they learned, to hear their highs and their lows, and how important it is for us to see their growth in all that they are doing. We say relationships are a key part of our School experience. This day always demonstrates just how true that is. We are sending some wonderful people out into the world! But they are prepared to go into the world, and we should all be proud of the young men and women they have become.
Many referenced teams and groups of friends as critical components to their development. Others took the opportunity to encourage everyone to come see the musical, “Bye Bye Birdie!” They explained that while they had never been in a play or production before, here they were now – in a musical! In fact, if you did not get a chance to see the musical last weekend, please make an effort to go this weekend. It is unbelievable! From the acting, singing and dancing, to the level of joy that the students seem to have with each other on that stage, this musical is not to be missed. So make your reservations because I heard there are only a few tickets left. There were two performances last weekend and they were sold out. There will be two additional performances on Friday, May 8, and Saturday, May 9. It should be an exciting week ahead! And please join me in thanking Upper School Drama Teacher and Director of Drama Productions Carlo Grossman, Choral Teacher and Director of Musical Productions Sarah Pramstaller, Dance Teacher Jenelle Mrykalo, Director of Fine Arts Tim Mitchell, and so many other faculty, staff and parents, who worked so hard to support the students in this effort.
With Advanced Placement exams now underway and impressive Senior Projects getting started, the Upper School is truly racing to the end. It is a time of enormous energy, hard work and determination. But our Senior Huskies are ready for the challenge and ready to take on the world. The real question is – is the world ready for them? I can tell you, it is a better world with them in it!! Have a super week!
Best wishes to you!
John M. Thomas