Harvest Time

IS Families,

Seeing the colors on the Fall Fest posters just provided a reminder that, even here in the mid-Pacific, we’re thinking about the bounty of autumn. And tonight we bring the community together for the biggest gathering in a while—for Fall Fest, an ambitious new twist on celebrations from prior years. I’d say the timing ends up being pretty perfect, giving us a chance to stop and appreciate the distance we’ve traveled and the growth we’ve seen so far. For example:

  • We’ve been in school every day, without interruption. After the past few years, that’s not anything to take for granted. And we’ve weathered a few bumps but stayed pretty healthy. I can’t say with certainty that we’re all testing and scrutinizing symptoms with the same frequency, but I choose to think that we all know we’re in this together and we’re looking out for each other. That simple fact makes everything else possible.
  • We’re getting back to full blast academically, remembering what that feels like and adjusting where we need to meet each other where we are. In schools like ours, actually the social gap looms larger than any academic gap—and both forms of learning are essential. With each passing week, the kindergartners are acting more like kindergartners and the seventh graders are more like seventh graders, if you know what I mean. And our amazing bunch of seniors continues to set a really helpful tone, even as they are working on their own plans for what comes next.
  • We had great participation and results in the fall sports season. You probably heard more about the KIF Champ volleyball team, earning a trip to O’ahu, but we also qualified an air rifle team member, and four of our cross-country runners qualified to race in the statewide meet we hosted just last Saturday, running with the best of the best and finishing in the top half of the table. And, heartwarmingly to me, these competitors felt the full support of their classmates and school community in a series of packed gyms and race crowds.
  • Meanwhile, our resident HS theater troupe prepared, week after week, to bring Steel Magnolias performances to our cozy main hall stage—and we can all go this weekend. I for one can’t wait to be there to watch performing arts excel as a perfect partner for athletics. Both are great windows on our school and our school culture. And in the “did you know” category, Science Olympiad and Robotics and Model UN are bringing a whole different kind of competition to life for our students, thanks to dedicated faculty and volunteers.
  • Our new academic building site went from stakes in the ground to a full story tall—now we are in full-go mode working on funding it so Island School can keep its debt-free record clean. There are so many worthy projects to be tackled here, we just need to keep working away and doing so together.
  • In that spirit, there’s also the harvest of candidates adding up day by day for the permanent head of school position. The word is definitely out there on the coconut wireless for this profession, and later this month the time will be right for next steps. Amazing that November has found us already.

So take a minute, take a bow, and stop to notice what’s been happening in our routines, in our school community. We even hosted a HS and a MS dance—with record attendance. Then imagine what you’d like to see happen as we head for the holidays. The calendar seems to go faster and faster, maybe because as you get older each year added is a smaller percentage of the resulting total?

Mahalo nui to all the volunteers who served meals in the concession stand, who signed up to help with classroom parties, who came to cheer on the Voyagers on all fronts, who shared their expertise with our classes, who made all the Fall Fest features possible, and who helped to close the gaps between our aspirations and our financial realities. You know who you are. And the results speak for themselves.

Deep into it all, and thx for reading,