Dear Tower Hill families,
If you were one of 400+ attendees at Cheers to 100 Years last Saturday evening, thank you! If you were not able to make it, don't worry, as it served as the kick-off event and a warm-up act for Tower Hill's official Centennial Gala Celebration next fall, which will be held on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019.
Thanks to our amazing Home and School co-chairs and volunteers, faculty and staff, the Field House was transformed into a twinkling evening venue, with delicious food, a silent auction of priceless student artwork through the grades, and a successful live auction. Most of all, the spirit of the evening was a true testament to the love and loyalty so many of our wonderful parents show towards Tower Hill's teachers, students and time-tested mission.
Having just returned from an ADVIS (Association of Delaware Valley Independent Schools) board meeting, we can all take pride in Tower Hill's admission figures. Regionally, independent school enrollment has declined over the past several years, however Tower Hill's applications are up 55% since last year, with a 99% increase in Lower School applications year to date! Our teachers' talent and dedication, the partnership and investment of parents, and the commitment and progress we are making in building an engaged and diverse community as stated within our Strategic Plan are just a few reasons why Tower Hill continues to be a highly sought-after educational option. Thank you as parents for serving as ambassadors and for all the ways you are spreading the Tower Hill story through word of mouth.
The winter months in schools and in families can feel long. Students, and even we as parents and teachers, can get frustrated, impatient and lose perspective. A fellow Middlebury College trustee and author, Dr. Helen Riess, just published The Empathy Effect, a book that encourages us to learn and lean into empathy. Dr. Riess has developed "breakthrough empathy training" for businesses, education and health care organizations with research that helps us gain a fuller understanding of how we can teach and learn empathy. Whether at work, in school or at home, empathy, as stated in Dr. Reiss' book, can help us "reverse scapegoating and recognize our shared humanity." It can help us address "digital empathy and the modern challenge of authentic connection in the information age." I am hopeful we will be able to have Dr. Reiss visit Tower Hill to speak with our students and parents.
At Tower Hill, we believe in rigorous academics and setting high expectations for all of our students. We have evidence every day that our teachers and students are achieving great success in this realm. The Class of 2019 has already had some terrific college news including acceptances to Yale, Harvard, Johns Hopkins University, University of Virginia, Tulane, University of Chicago and University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, to name a few. We also believe in rigorous character development, integrity, respect and kindness towards one another; we have equally high and clear expectations of our students and all members of the Tower Hill community in this realm too. Our students watch us as adults closely. Rigorous academics happen at the highest level in schools and communities in which students, parents and teachers are all committed to empathy, compassion and a keen desire to be our best selves.
As Alan Alda writes in the forward of Dr. Reiss' book, "The word empathy has only been in use in our language for about a hundred years... Empathy is not the same as compassion, but it's hard to think of compassion taking place without empathy. It seems central to our humanity."
Enjoy your weekend, and stay warm!