St. Hilda's & St. Hugh's faculty, administrators, and staff reported for duty on Monday, August 24, beginning two weeks of preparation to welcome students to the 2020-2021 school year. Head of School Virginia Connor kicked off these faculty weeks with an important message.
August 24, 2020
This is our official beginning, and I regret we cannot begin as we have done for almost every previous year of the school’s 70-year history, with a Eucharist of thanksgiving and dedication. In no other year have I needed that more than this one. Gatherings like Eucharist, lunches, and our traditional cocktail party all underscore our common life and amplify that life with communion. I’ve missed these moments, but I don’t need them to prove we are one.
Our school life exists for the purpose of bringing children to God and helping them to grow into young adults of moral courage.
Our work, foundational in nature, shapes lives of meaning and raises children to become loving, caring, and thoughtful students and members of their community. During late spring, when the country reeled with pain and anguish over the violent killings and the miscarriage of just and fair treatments of men and women based on their race, and when the death toll of African Americans in this pandemic starkly showed the decades of such inequity, our school’s history as a school dedicated to access and equity for all was much on my mind.
Our mission, to be active teachers of the sanctity of one another, seemed a small but vibrant and important action to change small heart by small heart within the sacred walls of our school.
As we return this school to life, let us remember in every action that we underscore that sacredness in each one of our children, parents, and fellow faculty. Let us remember in our teaching that we can help our children to understand that we can be better than we have been as an America. We can expect more of ourselves and of them each and every day. We must love one another, and we must show our students the way to a more harmonious and fair world by embracing our mission as never before.
Every year, faculty make enormous sacrifices to do this work, and this year that is even more the case. I pray that, when you grow tired of wiping down surfaces, or you miss the warmth of your colleagues at lunch, you gain strength from the knowledge that this work matters. It matters to the children who sorely miss each other; it matters to the parents who need to work without distraction; it matters to the shopkeepers in the neighborhood who count on your commerce; it matters to those online who need your guidance and your optimism; it matters to me, your colleague and head of school, who believes in you and who believes that childhood is the bedrock of experience upon which all else depends.
While we have lost a great deal during the long months of this pandemic, we now have the opportunity to gain so much. I count on each and every one of you to use each moment to change your students’ lives by loving them.
Thank you for being our faculty and for who you are, what you care about, and for dedicating your life to the service of children.
In this year ahead, I pray that you have the wisdom of St. Hilda, the compassion of St. Hugh, and the drive for social justice and harmony between and among all people of Mother Ruth and her sisters.