When I think about the many values that come from a St. Michael’s education, one is the validation our students receive from the faculty and staff. This often comes from the listening ears and wisdom shared throughout the school day. It is a common sight to see a teacher or a staff member engaged in conversation with a student or a small group. It may be at a lunch table or in a courtyard exchange; a morning greeting at the door or a casual encounter in a hallway. Not only do we ask our students to listen well, but adults do the same too.
Wisdom and knowledge come to us in many ways. As human beings, we seek validation and guidance from friends, colleagues, and family who listen and help us gain deeper understanding. In our school community, students gain knowledge and wisdom from the faculty in the classroom. As an administrator, I have also found, however, that some of the best wisdom I receive comes from the lips of children. At St. Michael’s, we work hard to develop trust among members of our community, which includes our students. I value the conversations I have with students, whether long or short. It may be simply eye contact combined with a smile, a hug, or a personal greeting, or it may be through an extended conversation that asks for a fresh perspective and new idea. Meetings, agendas, and lesson plans are important, but time spent talking and listening well to students most often trumps those things.
When St. Michael’s students graduate, there is excitement and enthusiasm for the exciting road ahead in high school. At the same time, there is a reluctance to leave the security and comfort of our “eagle nest.” Relationships and friendships built, whether in one year or in nine years, last a lifetime and leave a lasting impression. In the early fall one year, I saw a recent graduate from St. Michael’s School. This young man commented to me, following an enthusiastic hug, “Please tell all of the teachers hello and that I really miss them.” He left the nest of St. Michael’s prepared for the future, confident in his abilities, and validated as a person. Moreover, it was all because we listened, cared, shared our collective wisdom, and learned from one another along the road. That is one value of this education. It’s priceless, and it truly lasts a lifetime.
Head of School