Today is the last day of this year’s Service Week, and I have been lucky to both observe and participate in a number of projects. So many opportunities abound! While always observing health and safety protocols, we had students who worked outdoors in a horse rescue and rehabilitation center; others cleared debris and rebuilt park benches at Fort De Soto. Keeping Pinellas Beautiful involved many hours of beach clean-up and restoration (and lots of sun) at multiple locations throughout Tampa Bay!
I have lived in three different time zones in America. The seven states and District of Columbia that I have called home have been in vastly different climates: New England, the Mid-Atlantic, the Midwest, the Southwest, and now Florida. Spring arrives differently in varying parts of the country; the unfolding of this season makes me delighted to experience my first Florida spring as a resident.
The recent announcement of this year’s Academy Awards nominees has me thinking about the power of storytelling. I love going to the movies; it’s one of those activities that I have sorely missed and it is high on my to-do list post-COVID. In fact, the movies, TV shows and plays that I am most drawn to all tend to have compelling storylines. I simply love stories; I am curious about people, so being drawn into someone else’s life - on screen or in person - satisfies my urge to experience new things and see the world in a different way.
While I consider myself creative, I have never thought of myself as an artist. However I have been married to an artist for over 30 years, and he has helped me see the world through an artist’s perspective. I have come to realize that not only creating art, but also appreciating art, enriches everyone’s life, and that art should play an important role in the education of our children. At Shorecrest, visual and performing arts are integral to our curriculum.
With a nod to The Grateful Dead, it really has been a long, strange trip around the sun this past year. Today’s Ebytes comes almost a year to the day when our lives took a pivot and everything changed. We all have our own stories of March 2020, and I would like to share mine.
On a warm July afternoon, I climbed into Dave’s golf cart and he drove me all around Shorecrest’s 28 acres for a peek behind the scenes. We cruised from First Street to the pond behind the baseball field (no alligators are living in there right now, although there was one such inhabitant in years past they say…) We then headed towards the back side of campus, behind the football field, to see the Native Classroom.
I love coffee. I enjoy the actual beverage itself (hot and cold) and I cherish the rituals and routines of making my own coffee. I especially enjoy meeting other people over coffee and I have spent many hours of my life happily ensconced in lingering conversations over a cup of joe. I am hosting a Carline Coffee on Saturday, February 20, from 9-11am. It’s a chance to say hello, catch up and chat in-person. I look forward to greeting everyone and you can bet that I will have my coffee mug by my side.
Projects and presentations are a big part of life at Shorecrest. I was recently able to join in and observe students from the Lower School to the Upper School presenting their cumulative projects. In first grade, I viewed their Project Share about the Human Body. I also sat in as English Honors tenth graders presented their “This I Believe” essays in the Janet Root Theatre. I was so impressed by their presentations and projects which exemplified our students’ originality and work ethic, their willingness to talk about their experiences, and the support that they received from their teachers to ensure success. We talk a great deal about project-based learning, and it was inspiring to see this process in practice.
Anyone who has watched my installation video from last August knows that I am a huge fan of Broadway musicals. However, I also love watching sports. Clearly the St. Petersburg-Tampa Bay area is a great place to be a sports lover, especially this weekend as we cheer on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who will play the first Super Bowl in a hometown stadium. I love watching a group of athletes working together to achieve a goal, feeling the intensity of competition, and observing (to date myself) “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.”
As my first season of re-enrollment rolls around, I am thinking about the many conversations I have had with this year’s seniors, the only group that is not eligible to return for another year at Shorecrest. I have enjoyed their company over lunch, learned a great deal about the people in their grade, and gained a better understanding of why they love the School and appreciate their Shorecrest experience.
In a week when we have honored the birth of Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and observed the inauguration of President Joe Biden, the concept of perseverance has been on my mind. Recognizing the dedication of these two men, understanding the role that purpose has in our lives, and acknowledging the limitations of grit are ways that I make sense of perseverance.
Change may be constant, but adaptability is a choice. This is especially true now, during this year of unprecedented change, more than ever before. Guided by our mission and core values, Shorecrest continues to adapt our teaching and learning to prepare lifelong learners for today and tomorrow in new and innovative ways.
As we move into 2021, I have been thinking about New Year’s resolutions, and what might be the best ways to journey forward into the new year. Like many of you, I am ready to start fresh, and approach 2021 with cautious optimism. Yet I know that there are still challenging times ahead, that the unrelenting stressors of the past year will remain with us for at least the next few months, despite the vaccine light at the end of the tunnel.