Discipline, change, activism and Playpumps!

October 12, 2007

I’m just back from “rounds” too late on a misty rainy Thursday evening. Walking around Gould on nights like this can be special in its own way. The campus quiets down very quickly after ‘in-dorms’ and there is a peaceful glow to the place. It’s a perfect environment to think about Glog-content.

My entry wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t say that it has been a challenging week in several ways. We had to work our way through some of our first serious discipline cases of the year. These are always rough, probably in large part because we all know each other so well. As I walked along wet paths just now, I couldn’t get my mind off these cases. It may surprise you that my thoughts were mostly positive, not negative. As challenging as these cases can be, I believe that not just the individuals directly involved but the whole community grows from these discussions.

I went to boarding school and made some silly decisions. I can sit here today and say that I learned much more from the interactions around some of those stupid decisions as I did in history class (my favorite subject). I remember vividly being terrified of facing my adviser and coach after one foolish escapade. On the other hand, I remember little about the French Revolution or who did what to whom in what order and when early in the twentieth century.

Even more impressive than the individual growth is the community growth that comes out of
these challenges. While most students slept in this morning, some sixty adults sat around discussing, exploring and developing a response to one case. We all listened, we all learned, and the process moves our community forward.

It was also a challenging week as Dan announced that I have been chosen to head another school next year. While on one hand Marily and I are very excited about this opportunity, it will be incredibly hard to leave the people that are Gould. We have had the chance to visit and learn about a number of schools in this process, and there are many special qualities of this place that few other schools can claim. While I am looking forward to this new challenge, I am also happy that I don’t have to worry about leaving for another nine months!

There were incredible highlights as well. Mr. Penley’s assembly on ‘National Coming Out Day’, respect and activism will resound with me for a long time. It made us think. It was remarkable. Thanks, Colin.

And the most thrilling part of the week has been watching some of our ninth graders take the experience of their English and Geography classes and on their own start an “activist” movement to work on solutions for hunger and water challenges in Africa. In less than a week, this group under the leadership of Jeff, David, Justyne and others have formed their own movement and started raising serious money. Check out Jay-Z’s Water For Life Video on MTV, Heifer.org or Playpumps.org if you want to get a sense of where this great group is going. They are looking for additional participants if you are interested.

Yes, it’s just another week at Gould, and what an amazing week that it has been. Sorry that we don’t have pics, but there was just too much to think about. I will work on getting the camera going for next week. In the meantime, we look forward to welcoming parents for Parents Weekend. For any of you who can’t be with us, we welcome you to check in with any of as administrators or your student’s advisers. And for students and faculty, have a great long weekend!

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