This past week, I had the opportunity to celebrate my mom’s 80th birthday. Fortunately, the conference I was attending was close enough for me to take her out to dinner with my dad and niece, Casey. Throughout the dinner and my visit, I was reminded of many things we take for granted. For example, my mom and dad reminded me that when they were growing up, the only way they got ice cream was to make it; there were no refrigerators. They also reminded me of the good times we shared in Bellows Falls and Wolfeboro, times with family and friends, some of whom are no longer with us. As a gift for her birthday, all of my family—kids, grandkids, and great grandkids—made a scrapbook, each one filling a page with memories and expressions of love and gratitude. It is in that spirit that I offer ten things for which I am thankful.
I am thankful for my team who ran the school while I was away for two days at the conference. I truly believe they are the most talented and committed leadership team in the country.
I am thankful for the spontaneous joy of our student body, who when Elsa Eckhardt (with the help of Lily Sullivan) volunteered to lead them in a sing-a-long to “Don’t Stop Believin’”, sang along with enthusiasm and even on key.
I am thankful for our dedicated faculty and staff, who—though tired and drained after months of selfless service as teachers, staff members, coaches, advisors, and proctors—continue to lean into their work and make sure that our students receive the best education possible each day.
I am thankful for a fall full of successes in athletics, academics, and the arts—the latest of which is the musical Cinderella being performed this weekend.
I am thankful for this school, its proud history, its great promise, and most of all, the people far and wide who make up the Academy family—who time and again impress me with their goodness and generosity and make me wish I had gone to school here.
I am thankful for the gift of education and my vocation as an educator, for the chance to engage daily with young people and colleagues in pursuing noble truths and great ideas.
I am thankful for the beautiful Northeast Kingdom, which even in Stick Season, has a natural beauty unsurpassed by any other place I’ve been, and its people, who even when hurting, are generous and kind.
I am thankful for family and friends, for the moments of intimacy that allows each of us to feel what it means to be a full, rich human being.
I am thankful for the video of the young boy in Paris who was comforted by the protection of flowers and candles, for his father who taught him about the triumph of good over evil, and for the journalist who captured it for the rest of the world to see.
I am thankful for the segment on the PBS News Hour that showed the outpouring of support and expressions of human goodness throughout the world—from Nepal to Syria to Brazil to Shanghai—proving that an enemy like Daesh can never win.
I am thankful for much more, and I hope that in reading my partial list, you too are inspired to give thanks. I hope that your Thanksgiving is filled with thoughts for all the people and blessings in your life that bring you joy. Further, I hope that all of us are inspired in various ways to share that joy, turning those good thoughts into kind actions, especially at times when the world seems to be turning darker.