As I said to our faculty the other day, we may not all feel fully prepared or ready for the holidays. I sure don't! However, the holidays will come, whether we are ready or not. So amidst this season of Christmas and Hanukkah, it's especially important not to sweat the small stuff, to appreciate the moment, and to be grateful for so much that we have. As families in California are reckoning with devastating loss, and in many cases, total loss of their homes and possessions, it is important to remember that this season is not about the tinsel and the trappings. It is indeed about our humanity, for blessings in surprising places, and for the hope that our children bring the world with their minds, hearts and voices.
We are fortunate to have many talented student musicians and vocalists supported by our superb and dedicated Music Department. Last night our Upper School Vocal Ensemble and Choir performed at Longwood Gardens, and the night before we all enjoyed the Middle and Upper School Vocal Concert at Tower Hill. It is hard not to be moved by our students’ voices in song; they inspire us to be kinder and more loving human beings. As we enjoy the festivities of the season and anticipation of the winter holiday, our teachers' ability to keep our students focused is impressive to witness. Yesterday in a Lower School classroom, I saw a class riveted by a story read by the teacher as a way of centering students first thing in the morning. After the story, the teacher asked the class to share any reflective thoughts about the story, to which one student replied, "I feel calm and as if I can do anything after hearing this story." This student has wisdom for us all, especially amidst this busy season. No one is ever too old to sit and listen to a story being read aloud! I encourage us all as parents and a school community to consider some time for stories and to recognize that our student music, whether in song, band, or orchestra, is a gift - the gift of sitting still and being grateful.
As we honor and remember the life of former President George H.W. Bush, with our flag half-mast and with age-appropriate moments for our students in each division this week, we are grateful for strong examples of servant leadership, honor and integrity. I am grateful for our talented students, for their leadership and for our alumni, 60 of whom gathered earlier this week for our regional gathering in Washington, D.C. I am grateful for the servant leadership and dedication of our amazing teachers and staff. I am grateful for the servant leadership of our trustees who meet for our winter board meeting today, followed by our annual faculty/staff holiday party at Hayward House. And all of us at Tower Hill are grateful for you — our Tower Hill parents, including dedicated Home and School, Green and White, Annual Fund, and so many other parent volunteers. Thank you for your investment of time, talent and treasure. As we enjoy the weekend, look for a story, a song and a moment of gratefulness, somewhere amidst our preparations of the season!
Elizabeth C. Speers
Head of School