In speaking with Middle School Head Marti Jenkins about this week’s Fun Fest activities – rife with bouncy castles and bingo — she said: “This is the first time in over a year that things have felt normal.”
Indeed, the transition to Yellow Mode has brought a sense of joy, and normalcy, to the routine of school and rituals of spring. Even against the backdrop of ongoing challenges, there is a sense of hope and optimism that very much matches the season. Watching the kids run, and jump, and laugh, on the MS Field lifted my spirits in unexpected ways. It felt right to smile, and maybe for a moment, look forward to better times ahead.
Of course, one of the reasons to be optimistic for “better times ahead” is that we do not expect to rewind and return to “normal.” While the pandemic and racial reckoning have been isolating and painful, they also have been instructive. We will honor the pain by growing from the experience(s) and doing some things differently, and better, going forward.
Now, it might be a bit too early to outline precisely what those things are … but I feel quite confident that Cary Academy will start next school year stronger and more committed to our mission than at any time in our 25-year history.
As a school, I am proud that we have moved our programs and strategic plan forward this year against any number of odds. We’ve put renewed emphasis on student wellness, reimagined how we structure and use time, and leaned into new ways to further experiential learning. Together, these efforts have offered new avenues for our students to exercise agency, leadership, and choice. At the same time, we’ve also reconfirmed and strengthened our commitment to being an anti-racist organization, institutionalizing important ways to genuinely listen, understand, learn from, and support one another.
While we’ve struggled like every organization and every community this past year, we’ve also learned that we are individually and collectively resilient. Our community is comprised of deeply caring people who want the best for our own families, our school, and our world.
And our collective patience and goodwill, while stretched at times, never snapped. I cannot overemphasize how important—and, frankly, remarkable–that has been. While there have been plenty of opportunities for Monday morning quarterbacking this pandemic, our families put their trust in CA. Fighting the virus has been hard enough; thankfully, we never started fighting each other. Given the times in which we live, this is greatly appreciated. Thank you, all!
I’m looking forward to closing out the 2020-2021 school year in the most typical way possible, and planning ahead for a new and improved “normal” for 2021-2022.