Standing on the stage, while looking over the school’s podium, my eyes carefully scanned the collection of young, eager faces and nodded to the wise and weary faculty.
It has been a long year, a great year, a complex year, and a reflective year. It has been a year of new norms, new classes, and new friends, as well as a year of immense growth, introspection, and transition.
No one knew on September 10th what the 2020-21 school year would look like, whether we would remain in person, whether we would stay healthy, and whether our small community would do what we set out to do - provide a warm, nurturing, and educationally rich environment for fifty-three boys.
Our boys, your boys, learned to write complex paragraphs, memorize and recite passages, dialogue with classmates about social and historical issues, became fierce competitors on the pickleball court, and snow slide down our man-made ski hill - frequently landing in the slow-moving brook at the far end of the soccer field. They became outdoorsmen, carpenters, designers, entrepreneurs, and artists. They created space for friends to gather around the fire pit, banter when riding the rails at the skateboard park, or while cresting the hills of the pump track.
During the year, I watched your sons emerge from behind any layer of doubt and protection and embrace a sense of strength and trust. The search for friendships, the acceptance of learning, and the sound of laughter permeated our campus. The adults laughed, the students laughed, the dogs wagged their tails, and we embraced what it meant to be a community.
Today, an early summer rain has dampened the Vermont earth. I suspect it has afforded the faculty time to finish writing their comments, prepare a homemade pot of soup, grab a well-deserved Sunday afternoon nap, and begin to consider reconnecting with family and friends who have been just out of reach since March 2020.
Your sons are back in your loving arms, and your families embrace. I wonder - Do they look older? Have they shared stories about their year? Is your refrigerator almost empty? Can they tell you the moment when they became a true Greenwood student? We want to know, but most of all, we want your sons to understand how much we already miss them and how we can’t wait for them to return.
Well, maybe just give us a little bit of recovery time!