But First, Kindness.

During the course of the year, there are many ways in which our programming encourages students to become good people and inspires them to want to do something that impacts the world. Most often, I see these moments of goodness demonstrated in the ways in which students interact with one another. It is in these unplanned, spontaneous moments of kindness that I know just how wonderful our students are.
Earlier this month, three of our seniors signed their letters of intent to play collegiate sports.  At the conclusion of the signing ceremony, after the athletic director and coaches had an opportunity to speak about each of the students, the microphone was left open. Without planning, several other seniors gave impromptu speeches about the pride they have for their classmates, the ways in which the three girls have impacted their lives, and what they are looking forward to for their futures. Being witness to the students’ love and support of one another is truly inspiring; the bond they have built while at Ellis will last for years to come.

Every Friday morning, Upper School students gather together as a community for homeroom. In recent weeks, the announcement portion of homeroom has become so full that we have had to add additional meetings just to capture everything that is going on in the lives of our students. One of my favorite things about these gatherings is when students celebrate one another. The seniors have been bursting with excitement as they get to announce their peers’ college news. They are often more excited for their friends than they are for themselves! It is in these joyous announcements that we get to see just how kind and supportive our students are.  

In quieter ways, our students show this same kindness when we have visitors on campus. Whether hosting a prospective student or touring a visitor through campus, our Touring Tigers willingly give of their time to explain to the outside world what it is they love about Ellis, why it is a special place to be, and how they have grown as members of the Ellis community. Visitors often comment on how nice everyone is at Ellis and how welcoming they find the community. This is due, in large part, to the ways in which our students interact.

Fred Rogers once said, “There are three ways to ultimate success: The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind.” In a culture which defines success as a list of accomplishments, our students find success through their acts of kindness. I am proud to be part of a community of learners that holds kindness in high regard and so willingly shares it with one another.