Why Alumni Weekend Made Me Quote Kierkegaard
“Life must be lived forward, but can only be understood backwards.” – Søren Kierkegaard
We had over 350 alumni and their families on campus this past weekend.
I’ve studied Gould for over a year now, but this past weekend was the “grand tour,” with the Academy laid out like a living timeline stretching from Edna York ’27 (Go, Edna!) to the present.
It’s a powerful experience for a new head of school to plug directly into the history of the Academy with 85 years of stories, perspective, and questions right on campus. I was inspired, challenged, embraced and centered by our alums’ clear and abiding sense of their school.
It’s hard to imagine leading Gould without this supercharged infusion. I saw how the school has evolved through the eyes of those who could see the continuity and change, the core and the ephemeral.
I saw relationships that have endured for years in friendships, marriages, and advisories.
I heard vivid stories of the hard, sometimes harrowing, work of alums and trustees to sustain the school through difficult times. I saw our mission alive as I learned more about Gould graduates leading lives of purpose, action, and compassion. And, I was embraced and encouraged with a generosity of spirit that is one of Gould’s hallmarks.
So, I think that Kierkegaard was right, but the history he described was an abstraction. Ours is alive and high-kicking in our alumni. Ours is not something to be studied post facto, but a vital impetus in the continued success of the Academy – and its new head of school.