April 16, 2021
Milestones. Old markers on the wayside to let you know how far you’ve come and have yet to go.
Milestones, counting, predicting–all of these have to do with motion.
I was reminded today, as I listened to Jennifer’s annual farewell song during which she both lauds each Senior and tells the group she wishes they would stay with us, of how we are always a place of transition. Ever are students coming and going, growing up, changing and finding their paths, exploring the world such that they both begin to see their future selves in it and then, eventually, make their way there.
Today is a milestone, many actually, all at the same waypoint, all at once.
We, as a community have made it to Spring Break (!). A well deserved rest after a long, steady effort. But that also means that today is the last day of not being all together in our building on school days. When the break’s over, we return fully as a school for the first time in over a year. Milestone. Congrats, everyone! We have made it.
Well, okay, not all together in the building, because this afternoon was also our annual Senior Send-off ceremony, of which Jennifer’s song was the finale. Today, our Seniors took their last exam, turned in all of their final work, and wrapped up their classroom school days at Vermont Commons by being praised and toasted one at a time by their faculty advisors. As early as next Monday, members of the Class of 2021 head off on their Senior Projects for the rest of their school year, after which all that’s left to be done is graduate on June 11th. Milestone. Congrats, Seniors! You are incredible, you have done well, and you are ready to start on your way.
As we sat in the Commons today, watching the Send-off ceremony, Jasmine leaned over and remarked–as she looked around the back of the room–that this was the first time that all the faculty had been together in one room since March 13, 2020, when we gathered after just having sent the Class of 2020 on their way and the entire school into a quarantine the length of which we never could have predicted. It was, indeed, a remarkable moment. Whole. Healing. Right at the moment of departure of these Seniors with whom we’ve spent so much time and poured so much of ourselves. Yet, that is the nature of our community–movement, transition, wishing that everyone would stay together forever, but actually, more deeply wishing that each student at Vermont Commons will grow, grow up, find themselves in a community of support and kindness and compassion, and then make their way in good time into a world that needs their contributions, the healing and growth and vision that they can bring to it. If it seems ironic that the first time the faculty gather is our moment to start saying farewell to the Seniors, that coming and going is actually what we are here to do.
Milestone. A marker along our journey signaling to us how far we’ve come, how far we have to go, and that we are creatures of motion, of movement, of change, those who look forward, eager for what’s next.
May you all have a great spring break, may the Seniors have incredible Projects, and may we all embrace this beautiful journey together, counting off the milestones together.
Dr. Dexter P. Mahaffey, Head of School