Head Reflections: Going Old School

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We are tired. We are tired of the pandemic. Of being on Zoom. Of adjusting and “pivoting”. Of wanting to do normal everyday things but unable to because of COVID guidelines. We want to travel. To see friends and family. To attend sporting events, theater shows, and concerts.

We are all making the best of a truly horrible situation that happened to arrive during what should be a celebratory bicentennial year for New Hampton School. What keeps me going is the fact that we are here, we are healthy, and our students need us to be at our best. I can’t say enough positive things about how our faculty and staff have responded, sacrificed, and remained present for the needs of this community.

Going old school

In a year when we had planned an array of alumni events on and off campus to honor the past, share the present, and build the legacy before us, there is a rather ironic occurrence happening. Our students are experiencing exactly what some of our more “experienced” alumni did during their tenure here at Husky Nation. We have gone “old school” out of necessity, and to a degree, it may be just what our students have needed to experience. Back in the day students didn’t go home. Weekends were filled with movies in the basement of Berry, helping to maintain the ice on the outdoor rink, hiking Burleigh Mountain, skiing, and creating some acceptable fun and mischief together.

Our students have embraced many of these same activities, and more, this year. A vibrant intramural league, hiking and ice climbing trips, casino night, pick-up hockey on the upper pond, lots of ping pong, pool, and I am certain some playful mischief. They have done it together, and like some other shared activities they may bemoan in a good year, I am confident, with time, they will look back on this experience fondly.

old school adventures like ice climbing have helped students get outside and stay active during the pandemic

The need for mental health support

Understanding the mental health issues facing adolescents today underscores the lost art of creating good old fashion fun. Students can give you a list of things they want or would like us to improve in a minute but give them an hour to create something fun for themselves and it can be a challenge. This year, they’ve had time to create fun for themselves and will be better for it in the future.

On May 15 we will celebrate the Class of 2021 in a historic commencement that honors our graduates, our bicentennial, and our success this year. And then, my faculty and staff will rest!

Yes, we have lost terribly this year, but we can’t lose sight of all we have overcome and how fortunate we have been to be together. Our Story is impressive, just like our community.

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  1. Image for Barbara Jenny, 2023 parent
    Barbara Jenny, 2023 parent

    The students are so lucky to have each other and the NHS community. As Joe recognizes, they may not yet understand the extent of their good fortune—to be able to live, learn, play, and grow despite the world-wide challenge of the pandemic. As time gifts them perspective, I hope the collective memory of these times fosters tight-knit class cohorts and fiercely loyal alumni.

An independent, college preparatory school for boarding and day students, grades 9-12 and postgraduate.

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