From the Head of School...

I began to write this entry the morning following Thanksgiving, moments after opening my email inbox to find countless promises of THE BEST BLACK FRIDAY DEALS EVER, $1 socks, and an invitation to use coupons that will ONLY LAST for the next 12 hours (yes, I need to do some unsubscribing). Of course, these messages were a continuation of the ones I had been receiving all week, including throughout Thanksgiving day. While largely numb to them, I couldn’t help but wonder if my plan to soak in a quiet, cold day in New Hampshire would be better spent shopping. Thankfully, the distant view of Mt. Washington’s snowtop was a reminder: breathe in the day!

Fast forward to our return to classes the following Tuesday. During School Meeting that morning, I talked through the Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday & Giving Tuesday phenomenon. My point, of course, was not to ask our students to share the best deals they had discovered; rather, in reminding them of one of the questions I asked to frame the year - What do you value, and why? - I noted that high school is an excellent time to begin figuring out their philanthropic passions and to consider the countless organizations and charities whose work and missions truly make this world a better place.

I have thought a good deal about this - honing in on one’s philanthropic priorities - in recent days. As the fires were raging in California and our hearts were breaking collectively, I couldn’t help but consider the privilege of secure housing, food, and family. What if we each systematically reviewed those aspects of our lives for which we are most grateful and built our roadmap for giving from there? A lifetime of sustained food and housing might springboard a decision to give to Habitat for Humanity or the local food bank. Access to excellent health care could lead to donations to your local hospital or a national cancer organization. A deep appreciation for the role of education in your and your child’s life might inspire giving to a family alma mater, educational foundation, or current school. (And yes, in the spirit of transparency, we are in the midst of Canterbury’s Month of Giving!)

Now, one full week following Black Friday, I am wrapping this up from Washington, DC, where several of my Canterbury colleagues and I have been spreading the word about our beloved School at a Canterbury reception and the annual TABS (The Association of Boarding Schools) conference. Surrounded by educators who have made a career and family commitment to the good work of schools, I am feeling optimistic about the impact our school communities and students will have on the present and future world. Idealistic? Perhaps. ‘Tis the season!

As we lean in to the December holidays, I wish you time with those you love, moments of joy to carry with you throughout the new year, and hearts filled with giving. And may you weave in threads of conversation with your children focused on what you value and why.

Merry Christmas!