What a difficult job you’ve had, as parents, over the last 10+ months. Some days have likely been very tough, but you’ve managed. You may not have had anyone tell you that taking care of your children through this pandemic is remarkable. So, let me say: Way to go! Great adulting!
Something that Tom Ramshaw ‘09, an Olympic sailor for Team Canada, mentioned has really resonated with me; it feels more applicable than ever. He spoke about how important it is as a sailor to accept that there are some things that you can’t change. Sailors need to accept and work with the wind and weather during training and on competition day, because those factors are out of their control.
We have been forced to rethink the way we do everything this year, including student leadership. Our Heads of Student Leadership, Liv Arbess and Stewie Bain, have played an integral role in what has been achieved thus far in the 2020-21 school year.
Each day of 2020 seems to have brought with it new challenges, hurdles and mind-bending realities. Every student and staff member and their families are experiencing this year of challenges in their own way, but not necessarily on their own terms.
As Greenwood’s Principal, I am searching for ways to build empathy rather than hate. By appreciating our differences and learning from one another, we can deepen awareness of our own personal biases, value our authentic selves, and be allies and advocates. Our choices are impacting those around us daily, and we can all make a difference by consciously and purposefully choosing inclusion.
Last weekend, I attended the CAIS (Canadian Accredited Independent Schools) Chairs and Heads Conference (virtually, of course). During the conference, I had the pleasure of hearing and learning fromAnnahid Dashtgard.
Thanksgiving won’t feel the same this year. As recommended, I won’t be gathering with extended family; I find this difficult, but I also want to keep everyone safe. We will keep our close contacts to the members of our household and try to maintain a few traditions (like making pumpkin pie) and add new traditions (like virtual socials). I am sure your plans for the weekend don’t look the same as they would on most Thanksgiving weekends, but one tradition that I hope we can maintain is reflecting on the things that we are thankful for.
When I joined Greenwood as the school’s third Principal in 2018, I expected that I would face challenges in my role — problems to solve, new initiatives to get off the ground, planning for the school’s future. I certainly did not anticipate one of those challenges to be contending with a pandemic! I assume that you are also contending with new challenges and doing your best to navigate the current circumstances in which we find ourselves.
I’m about to share some advice from Grit Guru Dr. Angela Dcukworth. It feels a little bit like I’m telling you “SERENITY NOW!” from one of the greatest shows of the ‘90s, Seinfeld. Some of you may recall that Jerry Stiller, Frank Costanza of Seinfeld, explained that all you need to do is shout “SERENITY NOW!” and serenity will be yours.
In light of the pandemic, people worldwide are being asked not to venture further - rather, we’ve been asked to stay in! These restrictions on our adventures have been a significant challenge. Without the ability to venture out, we have been pushed to venture further in different ways.
The last several weeks have been an emotional rollercoaster for all of us, myself included. It can be hard to know what we will feel from day to day, and often hour to hour. But today, I am overwhelmed with one emotion in particular: gratitude.
I want to assure you that we have been monitoring the COVID-19 situation carefully and, at present, everything has been proceeding normally. However, I think it is important that I acknowledge concerns and implications around COVID-19.
If you have been inside the school lately, you will have noticed that we have a community jigsaw puzzle under construction in the front foyer. This monthly puzzle is an idea brought forward by our Student Council and has been a popular initiative.
This past Monday was recognized around the Northern Hemisphere as “Blue Monday” - the so-called saddest day of the year. Whether or not you agree with that assessment, it’s hard to argue that January in Canada isn’t a dreary time. Dark days and snowy weather inevitably take a toll on many people physically, mentally and emotionally.
Teens perform a balancing act every day. Navigating (real or perceived) pressure from school, family and peers, along with practising good self-care and work habits and keeping up with competing demands, is very tricky.
As part of yesterday’s Arts Day, cellist Erika Nielsen performed for Greenwood, inspiring students to consider all that goes into learning to play an instrument so expertly and passionately and making a profession of it.