It’s been a wonderful start to the new academic year. I am always inspired to see our community come back to life in September and I am reminded anew of the creative energy, joyful engagement and remarkably rich diversity of this place. And so, at the start of this new year, I’d like to reflect on the gift of community at AFS.
Community, one of the central testimonies of Quakerism, is indeed a deep strength of our School. Community provides a sense of belonging and common purpose. It multiplies our individual gifts and resources. Our shared experiences expand each other’s lives and our inner lives become populated with the voices, wisdom, laughter and challenge of those with whom we share this place. At its best, a community’s shared aspirations inspire each of us to greater things and deeper commitments than we would find on our own. Together, we are far stronger than our constituent parts.
The resources of our community are wide and deep, starting with the spiritual depth and moral clarity of our mission as a Friends school. Our faculty are a treasure as well – lively in intellect, creativity and restless ambition – and so committed to the academic, social and co-curricular experience of their students. Our beautiful campus reflects the stewardship of generations of parents and alumni who have come before us and who continue to invest generously in our school. And our students are a true gift to each other in the many talents and interests they bring to school each day. I have never seen a school where students feel so enriched, rather than diminished, by each other’s successes both in and out of the classroom. The combined light of our student body is awesome.
As others have so wisely noted, we are not a community simply for community’s sake – we are a community for the purpose of school. The strength of our community is what makes possible an outstanding academic program and a transformative, dynamic education for our students.
And so at the beginning of a new year, I encourage you to reflect on your place in the AFS community. Know that you are deeply valued for the commitment you have made to this outstanding educational community and for the distinct talents and perspectives you bring as a family. Please consider how you would like to be involved and contribute to the core strengths of this community, knowing that your involvement enriches not only others but your own life as well. Please look for opportunities provided by Home and School, the Arts Committee, AFS Connects and the Alumni Office. Come cheer for our teams and consider chaperoning a field trip if you can. And in this year of such visible accomplishment in the building of the Richard N. Berman Athletics Center, be sure to be counted among supporters of both the Now More Than Ever Campaign and the Fund for AFS so that we can celebrate all aspects of school life and the Center’s grand opening knowing that each of us played a part in its realization. More information will be forthcoming soon about these particular opportunities to support AFS for both today and tomorrow.
Thank you for being a part of the AFS community. We are lucky to have each other. All the best, Rich Nourie Head of School