Friday, December 18, 2009

Happy Holidays

I'm sitting here at my desk as the students are finishing up their final exams. The snowflakes are falling, there is a chill in the air, and you can almost feel the excitement amongst the faculty & students. The front desk and mailroom (and probably other places all over campus, too) look like a candy store or bakery, and I've had more than my fair share of all of the tasty treats. Days like today make you appreciate just how wonderful our community is, and how special it is to be a part of a K-12 campus. My hope is that everyone in our Providence Day community has a restful holiday break and a very happy new year. Thank you to everyone who has helped make my first few months in middle school such a wonderful experience.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Inspiration Found

I had every intention of writing a column this week about some of the things that I believe need to be improved in our middle school. Specifically, I planned on writing about some of daily challenges in the dining hall like trays & trash being left on tables and countless utensils being throw in the garbage. I'm a strong believer that there is always room for improvement even in a school as good as PDS, so I'll return to this discussion another time. The reason that I decided to switch topics at the last minute was what happened on Saturday. I had the good fortune of watching 3 of our middle school basketball teams complete in the Golden Corral Middle School Holiday Tournament (I didn't get to see the 7th grade girls). I was immediately inspired by the level of play in each of the games. I was impressed with how the teams played together, how the coaches brought out the best in their players, and how all involved represented our school with integrity.

I'll be the first to admit that I'm biased. Because sports have played such an important role in my life, I'm convinced that athletics are a powerful way for young people to develop character and a strong work ethic. I think that watching 5 boys or girls working together on the court and 10 boys or girls cheering from the bench is a beautiful thing. I think that seeing a team with only 6 players persevere through fatigue is inspiring. I think that watching players dive for loose balls or sink crucial free throws is evidence of character. I'll be just as inspired tonight watching our winter concert. I look forward to seeing our middle schoolers work together and share their musical talents.

I'm convinced that what I saw on Saturday (and will see tonight), paired with what I was planning on writing about, is really a microcosm of middle school students. Our middle schoolers are young adults who have the maturity to work effectively in the most stressful of circumstances. They can work together, solve problems, and follow directions. On the other hand, they still sometimes struggle with very basic responsibilities like cleaning up after themselves, and returning plates, silverware, and cups to the correct place. They are, as mother always liked to say, "a work in progress."

I'm sure that all of us who know and love the middle school students here at PDS will see them express the gamut of emotions over the next weeks. It is a time filled with stress about exams/tests, and excitement for the holidays and winter break. As always, I'd love to hear what you think. Thanks for reading,