Today has been just a glorious, glorious day. The sky is clear, the temperature has been perfect, and the warmth and excitement of the children and adults have been palpable all day long at Schechter.
We’ve had great opening assemblies in both the Lower and Upper Schools. Dr. Mindy Pincus, our new Lower School principal, did a wonderful job of introducing herself, and Rabbi Bardack and Cantor Gaston led a spirited and truly spiritual tefillot for our youngest children in the Shaller Campus MPR, with teachers huddled close to their students.
In the Upper School, Barbara Shea, associate head of school for program and instruction, did a remarkable rendition of that old Aretha Franklin song, Respect, to introduce this year’s theme on campus. She and Rabbi Scott Slarskey, after sounding the shofar, explained some of the ways we will live out that value in the school this year.
Walking around the school was thrilling. The Upper School sparkles. The new library is remarkable, as are the new music, computer, expanded art and conference room spaces. The kids are busy with new lockers installed last week. The most frequently commented-on improvement? Fiberglass backboards in the gym!
With all the excitement, two comments stand out for me today:
Barbara Shea told the Middle Division students (Grades 6-8) she was thrilled to be back because every school year has the promise of the new, and each child – indeed, every person in the room – has the opportunity to create a year that will be the best ever. Then she asked the students to raise their hands if they believed this was going to be their best year ever at the school. And, indeed, they all did.
That moment seemed to have a “still small moment” partner in the second grade earlier today. I dropped by Nancy Werner’s classroom and found her leaning over a desk where a boy seemed a bit anxious about some of the very first instructions and assignments of the school year. Mrs. Werner bent down to be at the boy’s level, and in her soft, tender way, told the boy, “Ohhh, I’ll help. I’m glad to help. That’s the thing I like to do most in the world – help children. And that’s what I’ll do for you. OK?” The boy looked up, met her eyes and said, a bit sheepishly, “Uh-huh, sure.”
And so, a new school year begins, with excitement, fanfare, renovation and renewal, and always at its core, the adults who like nothing better than helping children, who quickly become their partners in the ever-new process of growth and nurture.
I hope you will mark your calendars for two important upcoming events:
- a coffee reception to welcome Dr. Mindy Pincus on Monday, September 13 at 8 a.m.
- our Tours & Toasts program on Sunday, October 3, opent to the entire Schechter community.
Best wishes for a Shanah Tovah – sweet new year.