Thanksgiving is a natural time of reflection.
Some people start by thinking of family and friends. Others begin with health. There are those who have had a change in life status such as a new school, university, job, a baby or an activity. Being thankful for resources we have earned and been given are also worthy of reflection.
Since this will be my last Thanksgiving note written as Headmaster of Shorecrest, I am reflecting on those who came before me and built the foundation for the school. The Haskells, Daleys, and Crisps launched the school. Mr. Ordeman and Mrs. Booker Wall sealed the foundation for academic excellence. Teachers with the names Samuel, Savitsky, Kelly, Pribyl, Hayford, Moore, Field, Carnes, Beaton and Root - to name a few - remain in the memories of decades of students. Alumni like Mrs. Rowe, Mrs. Rauman, Mrs. Rebman, Mrs. Kramer, Ms. Nelson, Mr. Powers, Mrs. Frey, Mr. Leavengood and Mrs. Ellis returned to advance the lessons and the culture they experienced when they were younger Chargers.
There are the Board Chairs and hundreds of trustees who gave their time, talents and resources so that our school and the greater Tampa Bay Area could have a great independent education opportunity. There are the hundreds of parents and family members who chaired and supported SPA and Booster Club, now SCA and the Athletic Council, respectively, with activities that built the foundation for our community-based school. I am also thankful for those who became donors to our school. Community philanthropy ranging from $5 to $2,000,000 has made a profound lasting impact on generations of students.
The power of community philanthropy was in full view last week as 200 community members gathered for the RISE Celebration. In the shell space of the second floor of Charger Commons, our community got a peek of what will be available to our students, teachers, SCA Volunteers and administrators once we finish Transform. We celebrated the generosity of the families and friends who made it possible for the Dining Rooms, LS Library, Makerspace and Experiential School to open. It was also the first time our community was able to publicly thank Evan and Quan Tran, an Experiential School family who made the single largest gift
in the school's history last fall.
The Trans humbly asked to remain anonymous donors, but as we move into this next phase of Transform, they kindly agreed to allow us to thank them publicly in hopes of inspiring others to join them in supporting Transform.
Thanks to the Trans and the other early campaign supporters, the first floor, playspaces and lawns have transformed the education, culture and appearance of our campus. Now, more community members than ever before realize that the second floor and renovation of the current library space and SAC will elevate our ability to educate, support and inspire students from Alpha through senior year.
Dr. Danyali, Dr. Bianco, Mrs. Grant, Mr. Paige, Dennis Leary, Michael Gillis and I shared one common message - it is time to finish this project and give our community and future generations the exciting and important new spaces envisioned in Transform. As you reflect on the blessings your family has received over the years, please consider how you can join the families and friends who have already supported Transform. Gifts and pledges made between now and January 4 will determine if the facilities are ready next August.
I realize I will not be here to experience the daily benefits of these enhancements, but I sure would like for a part of my legacy to be the completion of Transform. 24% of our families have made Phase I of Transform possible. I know we have the capacity to complete Phase II and in many ways complete the Transformation of our campus.
Of course, a reflection on the school is empty without thoughts about our students. 15 years of helping children out of cars has sparked moments of great joy. Seeing children glow during performances while parents document every move has filled my heart. How can one not be thankful for the energy and passion Upper School students add to our community? Seeing the kid who is “too cool for school” get wrapped up in the pure joy of adolescence that occurs during Homecoming, arts or athletic events, Senior Walk and other traditions reminds me often why I have loved spending 47 years in schools.
I am thankful for the Shorecrest community and for all that community has given to our children, their families, my colleagues and my family.
Happy Thanksgiving and Cheers!