It may have taken a while to get to the annual gratitude holiday, so late in arriving this year, but with grandparents and special friends here and the Mystery Turkey revealed, let the celebrations continue. For me, watching the little trotters clad in paper bag costumes for two full decades now, it carries special meaning. So here goes a litany of things on my desk worthy of pausing for appreciation.
, like those who made Noche Latina happen, or Middle School soccer, or the Model UN Court of Justice. We regularly hear about overscheduled and too-busy young people, but then we see them rally around an idea or an opportunity, and somehow they make time. The students in Aliados and families in HOLA shared culture and cuisine with us as never before
, while four score-plus classmates were in the global mecca of Murfreesboro representing dozens of countries via resolutions, court cases, and lively debate
, hot on the heels of Legally Blonde filling the house
. Then our MS lads won the whole darn HVAC tourney
with a brand of soccer so beautiful that it was evident even to me. And these are just pieces of lives unfolding, representative of the sense of purpose revealed in the choices of the young people we see every day.
For our hardworking Operations team, o they of the can-do attitude, setting and resetting the same room, sometimes three or four events’ worth in a single day. From pre-dawn to late night, they work the security/welcome desks, they remain patient when we are less than our best behind the wheel, they fix the plane while we’re flying it, and somehow they keep smiling when events or transportation or utilities or weather throw us a curveball. And they maintain mighty high standards for their own work. I see it every day, really in every office that works in support of our aspirations as a school.
For our alumni, like Adrien Saporiti ’06 and Colin Pigott ’03 volunteering to create the High School Entrepreneur class, Roz Helderman ’97 writing headlines for the Post as Washington is rocked by current moment, and the dozen members of our National Alumni Board of Visitors who returned this month for the 10th annual sojourn back to connect cities with the highest concentrations of our graduates. In their lives and the 4,000+ other diploma holders out there walking the earth, we find the school’s great treasure, and more are returning to Nashville by the month.
For our community partners
, including the now-dozens of Horizons
program families, the good people at Habitat for Humanity
, at Cameron College Prep and Carter-Lawrence, and at several other Metro schools with whom our students and teachers connect through programs largely driven by our students. And for the Educators' Cooperative
, now incubated and thriving across our city after a grassroots start in our hallways.
For all the extended family members who encourage and inspire and underwrite us across generations, so many of whom are back this week to share a big meal or an every-seat-full Sperling Gymnasium to see what magic Music Teacher Doni Princehorn has mustered this year, or an early morning Boulevard Bolt. In the end, we are and have always been a big, beautiful collection of families, different every year but alike in appreciation for the chance to learn from one another.
What strikes me most is the way that each of these constituent slices of the USN pie is so directly reliant on and enriched by all the others. It takes each of us to “do” USN, to do school the way we love most, the way that’s best. May you find a moment to appreciate your part in the way it all connects, and thanks for allowing me all these years to see it and live it up close.