April 15, 2022

A Prudent Year

Kevin Boland Sr.

Middle School students pose in front of the Manor House after writing messages of affirmation in chalk.


We’ve all heard stories about lottery winners who come to ruin—it happens. Yes, some are smart with their winnings and enjoy an improved quality of life. Still, just as often, people who suddenly find themselves with enormous resources and many options end up making terrible decisions. It can be perplexing and heartbreaking. If not grounded by a guiding philosophy, unable to make adjustments along the way, money and success can lead to bigger and bigger mistakes. 


Has the Middle School been getting it right during the past year? When easy answers are hard to find—where there are no winning lottery tickets—we continue to look first to principles for guidance: care for our students, helping them become their best selves, and preparing them to enter the wider world. And, during the pandemic, keep them safe while also keeping them in school, in an academically challenging environment conducive to their social and emotional growth. To look at it another way, planting and cultivating the same seeds we’ve always planted, just in a different way.


So much information has come at us that it is hard to separate the signal from the noise. We strive to apply sound judgment to do what we think is best for each division’s students, parents, and teachers. There is no one-size-fits-all, so we avoid the idea that there is one magic answer or total solution that will be perfect for everyone that gives us the slight edge. Instead, the little things implemented incrementally, chosen deliberately, and executed safely allow us to keep our doors open and our students on campus for the GCS experience. It isn’t perfect or above criticism, and we sometimes have to take steps backward, but we always strive to identify what is in the best interests of our students and families, listen to feedback, and move with care.


Here we are, a year and a half later. This year is better than the last, and last year was better than the end of the one before when the pandemic started. Perhaps we are that prudent lottery winner. We haven’t squandered our winnings, we’ve moved cautiously and conservatively, and we continue to adapt and improve the quality of our students’ educational experience. And we do this knowing there are still challenges ahead. Variants remain a concern. So we continue to be cautious, remaining socially distant when possible, properly wearing masks, and encouraging vaccination. But we are also inching toward normal. The quality of life students enjoy is a result of our careful strategy, the hard work of our faculty, and the cooperation of our students and families. It is also a consequence of the strong community bond we’ve forged over many years, allowing us to reap what we planted and cultivated for so many years before this.

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