Talk about having an engaged Board of Trustees. If work and knowledge are twin pillars of strong boards of trustees, then Williston’s Board showed their mettle this past weekend over long and productive days of work. I have been around a number of boards in my time, but the energy and interest shown by our group was exemplary.
One highlight was certainly “Windows into Williston” and the Board’s exchange with a student panel which focused on the strategic issues exercise of “stop, start, and continue.” Members listened and asked questions as a cross section of students offered their insights about Williston today. As always, Williston students displayed the Purpose, Passion, and Integrity that define our school as they spoke about ways of further strengthening our deep sense of community, developing more Williston Scholars offerings, and increasing opportunities for day students to interact with boarding students.
Boarding schools share many rites of passage, but certainly one which we most anticipate has to do with coming back together as a community after long breaks. As always at Williston, we begin the first day with assembly, and while it was a pleasure to offer welcoming remarks, I did so knowing that the young children of Newtown, CT were also reconvening in their new Sandy Hook elementary school location.
Because that tragedy happened after Williston students had returned home for the holidays, I wanted to offer reassurance about safety measures that we have taken during the past two years (recalling an all-school drill we had in the fall term), remind our community of the support services at our ready disposal (counselors, mentors, advisors), and reiterate to our students that their safety is our highest priority.
As I watched students wind a familiar path from our chapel to their classes, I was reminded that the young people at Williston, learning and living together, have much to look forward to in 2013 and their journeys beyond. May their clear-eyed optimism of youth never be clouded by the inhuman actions of a few.