29 Aug Head of School Fall Welcome Letter
As the start of the school year draws near, I realize that many of you are probably feeling the way Ray and I are: lamenting that we have to follow an actual bedtime routine, noticing that our pride-and-joy child is suddenly remembering he has two full books, with reflection, to finish for his summer reading, and realizing that, after a summer of wearing out the snooze buttons, our alarm clocks may need to be replaced.
The beginning of a new school year always brings with it a sense of normalcy, even though the last few weeks have felt nothing like “normal” on the news, on our streets, or in our country. The recent events in Charlottesville shook my entire family to the core. I felt proud of our city of Boston as it held steadfast to the principles of equity and justice. After these events, I believe that the Advent mission and motto are more relevant today and will inspire us to create a better future. The values Advent has held for more than 55 years give me hope and strength that what we do within these walls is what is right for the world; that hate, intolerance, racism, discrimination, and bigotry do not have to be part of our narrative moving forward.
Over the last half century, the Advent community has witnessed the fallout from bussing, the city divided on race and integration, economic hardships that changed the landscape of Boston neighborhoods, and growth in neighborhoods that brought people in and pushed people out. Advent families have been together through several wars, 9/11, the attempt to destroy faith in the security of our city during the Boston Marathon, and, all the while, we have been able to come together and look for – and be – better. Advent’s spirit of advocacy, its emphasis on social justice, and strong, resilient community have inspired students and families for over 55 years. Our alumni have become CEOs, inventors, politicians, lawyers, conservationists, painters, and so much more. They embody the School’s motto by showing that learning with passion and acting with courage can change the world.
I have a lot of feelings that are hard to put into words and have tried to find light in a time that feels so grey. As I thought about what to write in my opening letter, I was inspired by a list created by a colleague and friend halfway across the world, Cindi Gibbs-Willborn. Cindi heads the Hanahau’oli School in Honolulu, Hawaii, which resembles Advent in its mission and community.
As schools across the country prepare for students to return, parents shop with gusto, checking off their school supply list and gathering all the things their children may need to start the year on the right foot. Cindi created her own back to school supply list to send to her community. Cindi wrote, “Please note that all required items are free and should be simple to locate within your own household.”
As our community readies to reenter the walls of Brimmer Street and the city of Boston, I am thankful to be part of a community that understands that children are truly our future. Our teachers and administrators believe this with every fiber they have. Their work is guided by the notion that the curriculum at Advent is all that we do with intent. The growth and journey of all children depends on unlocking their whole selves: their academic strength, their identity, their social emotional well-being, and their understanding of others to ensure their success.
I created a supply list for our community, inspired by the Advent mission and values. “Should one or more of these supplies presently be missing or in low supply, please know that our community is happy to help you and your child discover them during the journey we are about to take together.”
ADVENT COMMUNITY SCHOOL SUPPLY LIST 2017-18 (Bring as much supply as you have)
Flexibility: Come ready to try, to engage, to collaborate, and to fail. Learning is the most difficult thing we will do in life, but as our tools get stronger they make way for growth.
Advocacy: Speak up, speak out – for yourself, for your peers, for our community. This is a guiding principle for all that we do in this building. Giving our children a voice to feel safe and help others feel safe is cornerstone to the Advent curriculum.
Curiosity: Explore everything! Asking big and little questions can allow us to open doors that we cannot even imagine.
Hope: Gandhi said, “You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.” Trust and desire together can unlock a passion for the possibilities of greatness.
Courage: Risk is never to be avoided; allow for the safe space around us to encourage us to stand in our truth.
Compassion: The diversity of others’ experiences can be a framework to lean in and show kindness even when there is lack of understanding.
Love: Just LOVE!
Welcome back, I cannot wait for our little humans to be back in the building working toward a better tomorrow.
With flexibility, advocacy, curiosity, hope, courage, compassion, and love,
Nicole A. DuFauchard P’20
Head of School
The Advent School