Reflecting on a Year of Connection and Joy

I have become an admirer of the writer and poet Mary Oliver, who wrote prolifically about nature, and love, and life. One of her quotes caught my attention recently, as I was reflecting on our year at Ellis:

"Finally I saw that worrying had come to nothing. And gave it up. And took my old body and went out into the morning, and sang."
At moments during this school year, we could have become a school consumed by worry. How could students really connect with each other while wearing masks? How could we conduct school safely with the continuing bursts of COVID in our surrounding community? Would we be able to reintroduce the beloved events and celebrations that we had put on hold last year? It has been truly remarkable to me to watch our school community navigate these moments. No, the decisions haven’t always been easy, and we haven’t all agreed about them, and we’ve had to make some pivots, and we’ve certainly worried. But what has been extraordinary to me is the growth, care, connection, and joy that permeated the year.  

My days start on the sidewalk, greeting children as they arrive during morning drop-off. Every single day, I receive so many smiles and cheerful “hellos,” and I see friends skipping down the sidewalk to greet each other excitedly. And as I walk the halls each day, I see students of all ages fully engaged in academic discussions, whether about interpreting great books they are reading, debating moments in history, solving tricky math problems, interpreting experimental data, or learning about another country’s culture. Yes, it has been another different year, but Ellis has remained true to its core, with students connecting with each other and their teachers, teachers creating amazing learning opportunities in classrooms, athletes competing with joy and fierceness on the field and in the gym, artists creating beautiful and meaningful works in our studios, and performers providing us with shared moments of humor, drama, and celebration.  

We did, indeed, go out in the morning and sing.

I hope the summer continues to bring many moments of connection and joy for everyone in our Ellis family. I look forward to seeing you again in the fall.