Threads of History

Tim Breen, Head of School
This is not the time to rest. Rather, this is an historic opportunity to build on our current strength, and ensure the future of our School.
Alumnae/i Awards Dinner Remarks, October 1, 2011
By, Tim Breen, Head of School

Welcome. It is great to see all of you. I appreciate the effort you make to come back here, to renew friendships, and to reconnect with our School.

One of the great joys of celebrating out 125th anniversary year is that I spend time talking with Alumnae/i and reading about our history. It is a remarkable history. And it is easy to trace the threads of this history from our founding right through to today.

When I read about the grit and determination of Bishop Niles, who not only founded the School, but worked tirelessly to keep it funded, I think of the tremendous persistence and support of some of our long-term board members.
When I think of Aunt Dot McLane, and her vision of a school in the mountains, I think of the students today who truly connect with the mountains, with the possibilities for adventure and also with the peace and reflection that can be found here.
When I hear of Miss Jenks and her work to enhance the academic curriculum, I think of administrative team meetings today where we wrestle with the question: how do we best prepare students for colleges today.
When I look at pictures from the 1950s of girls in blue parkas skiing on the hill, I think of my conversation with Jack Hood last winter, as he described standing out on the porch of Dickey House watching (somewhat nervously) as students skied, and took jumps, down the hill that now bears his name, and I think of our students today building rails, boxes, and jumps on the same hill for snowboarding and freestyle skiing.
When I think the decision to expand the mission of the school to include boys, I think of the lengths we go to every year to be inclusive, make the School affordable to all families of qualified students.
When I think of Aunt Dot’s description of Bishop Niles’ vision for the School: “… that perfect harmony of body, mind, and soul which alone constitutes the well-educated person.”
And Miss Jenks’ more succinct description: “this is a church school, a boarding school, a small school, and a selective school”
I think of how we help our students develop in mind, body, and spirit. I think of how the size and ethos of our School creates a special place for students, a place where everyone matters, and where each student is challenged and supported to pursue excellence.
Today, we have 112 students (highest in two decades for us) active and engaged on campus. We had a wonderful year in admissions. Of special note is that six of our new students are siblings of current students, and one is a cousin. This is a wonderful endorsement of the educational experience here. We have raised money to enhance the campus — you can see the results in renovations in Carter and Burroughs, a new front driveway, and a revitalized lobby here in McLane. Our current Annual Fund is very strong. We are working hard and moving in the right direction.
This is not the time to rest. Rather, this is an historic opportunity to build on our current strength, and ensure the future of our School. For the past year we have engaged in a strategic planning process, with a tone that was rooted in our history and informed by new understandings of adolescents and of teaching and learning. Through this process we have identified our next steps — where we must head to continue to provide the best education for young people.
As many of you know, we are at the front end of a campaign. To allow us to fully realize our mission, we must now build the financial base that will ensure the future of our School, so that generations to come will have the opportunity to be engaged and challenged to grow in mind, body, and spirit — in this beautiful setting in the mountains, immersed in a community the truly values individuals. I can think of no better place for young people to develop academically, push themselves physically, and reflect on their spirituality.
Thank you again for being here.

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