The Iditarod Begins…

[vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]Dear Flint Hill Families,

On Monday we held our 2014 “All-School Gathering,” an event that is part tradition, part ritual, and all relationship and community building. Each year at this time, we bring the entire student body, from TK to Grade 12, together to start the year. While we talk about being three divisions, on two campuses, we can never lose sight of the fact that we are one school with a common vision, mission and core values. It is always exciting to see our entire student body, faculty and staff together for this very special moment. The energy in the gym is electric. The event is filled with subtle, yet special moments from the looks on the faces of young students who have never seen so many people together in one place before to the tears in the eyes of proud parents.

The event began with our “Lifers” – students who have been with us since they were in JK or Kindergarten – walking in hand-in-hand with members of the TK, Kindergarten, and First Grade classes. Can you believe that this year, the Class of 2015 walked in with members of the classes of 2026, 2027 and 2028? Our Division Directors were joined by four great youngsters from the Lower School, the Head of the Student Council for the Middle School, the President of the Upper School Student Council, and the President of the Senior Class, to share a welcome, words of advice, and their dreams for making this a phenomenal school year.

We also took time during this annual ceremony to remind everyone of our responsibility as “Huskies.” Twenty-five years ago we made a historic decision to have the “Husky” as our school mascot and to focus on the concept of an education that mirrors the 1200-mile Iditarod race in Alaska. As Huskies we work together as a team – no one is more important than anyone else. Each of us has a responsibility to help each other out. We talk about how our “journey” through education, this school year, or a particular grade, will be both exciting and inspiring, as well as difficult and challenging, but ultimately rewarding because we are doing it together.

To symbolize this endeavor, we begin each year we the lighting of our lantern. In the original Iditarod, a lantern was lit at the start of the race, and the flame was kept alive until the last team finished. It had nothing to do with place or winning – it had to do with respect for everyone who had the courage to enter the race.

At Flint Hill, we light the lantern each year during the All-School Gathering as a symbol of respect for the journey we are on, individually and as a school community. The lantern is eventually brought to my office after the ceremony, and while the candle has to be replaced with an electric candle, it burns in the window of the Headmaster’s Office, day in and night out until the last senior completes the requirements to graduate and receives his or her diploma.

Part of our tradition is to have the lantern lit by our “Lifers.” Many of their parents were able to join us for this year’s program, and have known each other since their children were our youngest learners. The sense of inspiration and admiration I hold for all of them and their children, is real.

As people arrived for a reception for Lifer parents, two commented on having seen kindergarteners on the playground at recess, and how it seemed like just days, not years ago, that their child would have been among those youngsters. The pride they feel in who their children have become is something to behold. And even though they are still at Flint Hill, they are coming to terms with the fact that that their child is no longer dealing with skinned knees or loose teeth; instead they are young adults full of talents and dreams. They are becoming their own individuals. In fact, among this group we have three students on the starting volleyball lineup, a film expert, numerous scholar-athletes, musicians, and an Eagle Scout. Overall, these are incredibly kind, poised and positive young people. We all share in a sense of pride for who they are, because they represent each and every one of us.

If you see any of our “Lifers,” you may want to thank them and their parents for helping set the tone along with this year’s Senior Class. Those who joined us in JK were Michelle Abt, Reza Akhtar, Kyle Crowley, Jillian Hickey, Stacy Keister, and Sam Lisker. And those who came along in Kindergarten were Gracie Anderson, Cassie Biggs, Madison Crowe, Allie Fellows, Lauren Foley, Zane Homsi, Amy Jeanneret Hooks Johnston, William Krisko, Jack Swart, and Evan Wilcox. These students are just the tip of the iceberg. They stand with a great Senior Class ready to lead a phenomenal student body, with the full support of our amazing faculty and staff.

It was a great “All-School Gathering” and together we will make this an amazing school year. I am grateful for all we will do collectively to support, encourage, and inspire each other as the school year “races” on!!!

 

Best wishes to you!

Sincerely,

John M. Thomas
Headmaster[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_wp_custommenu nav_menu=”312″][templatera id=”17051″][/vc_column][/vc_row]