Head Reflection: The Anatomy of a Positive Atmosphere

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In my role at New Hampton School, I am fortunate to have the opportunity to step out of my daily routine from time to time to “observe” our community in operation. I spend purposeful time out of my office watching how students interact with each other and adults. I see their smiles, sometimes only imagined through their mask, hear their laughter, and witness their engagement in class, during sports, in club activities, and around a dinner table.

Community Moments

Last month the Contemporary Music Lab held its annual winter concert. The students displayed talent and teamwork as they seamlessly moved through their set like a well-tuned, professional band. The music was great, the audience was totally into it, and my joy was watching each performer have fun and come alive.

We also recently celebrated National Girls and Women in Sports Day. We recognized female faculty and staff accomplishments, hosted an impressive alumni panel of athletes that shared their athletic experiences, and highlighted a women’s basketball game that Husky Nation came out to support in an exciting with excitement.

Seniors Sophie, Cal, and Cam share a positive moment on stage together at the Winter Music Showcase.

The women’s JV Hockey game, also featured, was canceled however some creative adults didn’t allow this to ruin the day. A broomball game between the hockey team and the JV women’s basketball team took center stage and ended in an exciting shootout. Laughter, fun, and camaraderie were the themes of the day.

Visiting classes recently reminded me of the importance of collaboration and some healthy competition. I witnessed spirited engagement with content through a Kahoot game and judged Mr. Saler’s IB History students doing “elevator speeches.” They were tasked with acting as Civil War generals looking for new jobs in the government. That’s when they see me—the “President”—in an elevator, and they jump in. We were in the actual elevator in Meservey Hall, and, one at a time, they jumped in for their one-minute pitch. They were nervous, all did a great job, and I had a ball.

A positive moment created out of a canceled game.

A Fundamental Magic

As I deconstruct these events to understand why they contribute so much positive energy to our community, it reminds me of our most fundamental objectives at New Hampton School. First and foremost, we want every student to be known, recognized, and have an opportunity to contribute. We also want to push students to do things beyond what they might feel comfortable with, building confidence as they take that next step in their developmental journey. Singing for an audience for the first time, the pressure of the game-winning shot, public speaking, and learning to laugh at yourself all fall into this category. Finally, having a caring and trusted adult to create an opportunity that allows a student to contribute is where it all begins.

I am honored to witness the magic of the New Hampton School community daily and am excited for all that we will create together as our year continues.

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