Happy Birthday to Us

Let’s make a deal. In exchange for this message being shorter than usual, you pledge to read two things next week that promise to be way, way more important than what would typically come from me. But before that, let me share just a few choice bits of wisdom from today’s Island School birthday program—here’s the low down:

We welcomed all seven of the founders back to a full preK-12 gathering in the gym this morning, complete with faculty, staff, Board members, other family members, and even two of the first twelve students from back in 1977. The format for our interactions was question and answer, with the questions coming from students and the answers shared by all of our honorees. Among the questions (and I’ll let you guess which ones came from which grades) were-

  • What advice would you give to us today, and would that be different from what you would have given 46 years ago?
  • Does Island School now represent your initial vision for what we could be?
  • What do you see the school becoming in the next 25 or 50 years?
  • How long did it take to make the school—and how many hammers did you use?

That last one was meant to be taken literally, btw. What we heard offered many pearls of wisdom, among them-

  • To find something we love and do it to our very best.
  • To surround ourselves with good people.
  • To think of the long-term financial foundation of Island School.
  • To keep loving the arts and invest in a facility to showcase those programs.

Most important to me, we heard stories, and we showed those founders how much what they did then means to us now. The challenge they offered by their example here is that we do something in our time just as meaningful as they did in theirs. And I offered up this column to any of them who might want to communicate directly with us in months to come.

Now on to the two big messages for next week. One is the much-anticipated announcement of Island School’s next permanent head, the steel radial to replace my donut status. Look for that and read every word, OK? And the second is a letter about the budget that the Board approved to fund our hardworking operation for next year—to be followed by a practical note about re-enrollment, something I’ll be nagging you about so we get all our counts right before making admissions decisions in the early spring.

With that in mind, I’ll sign off for now and yield my time to next week.

All excited by what I heard and saw today,