middle school students in the science labby Dr. Bill Hudson, Head of School

One of the ways I am navigating this challenging crisis has been to start running again. Some of you may know that I took a bad fall while on a run two and a half years ago and broke bones in both my ankle and my foot. It’s been a long road to recovery as I’ve dealt with both physical and mental trauma. For some time, I have been mentally preparing myself to start running again but until recently, I lacked the resolve. Several weeks ago, after a particularly long day, I reached a breaking point. So I ran. I needed to reassure myself that I can overcome anything, that pain does indeed result in gain, that this is hard but I can push myself through it by the strength of my resolve, and that it’s all worth it on the other side.

You have most likely heard me say that we are in marathon, not a sprint. The irony of my fall was that I had just recently achieved a personal milestone, completing the ten-mile run of the Twin Cities Marathon. Never having been a runner before, I slowly worked my way toward that ultimate goal. In a marathon, there are mile markers and in my training runs, there are landmarks to measure progress. A friend reminded me recently that we have no such guideposts at the moment; we are engaged in an endurance event without mile markers, working toward a finish line that may not even be visible.

In a marathon, the people who come out to cheer on the runners are amazing and an incredible boost to the spirit. For me, however, there is nothing worse than the supporter who says, “You can do it. You are almost there!” Nothing is more relative than “almost there” when you are mentally and physically exhausted. A mile? Around the corner? For a runner who can’t see the finish line, “almost there” is demoralizing.

On the other hand, there are supporters along the marathon route who provide just the right message at just the right time. As I ran along Summit Avenue, a mile or so to the finish line, school counselor Ashley Cooper and her husband Mike Velin ’06, were those supporters for me. I clearly remember their smiling faces and words of encouragement as they cheered me on. “Keep going; you’re looking good; you’re are strong.” That was all I needed.

We are at that point in the race where we need to be cheerleaders, as our children and one another undoubtedly begin to lose stamina. Moments of frustration and self-doubt are to be expected. Like the fans along a marathon route, though, we need to show up. Cheer one another on. For those of you who are out ahead, circle back and cheer on a friend or colleague. If you are struggling, do not be afraid to accept the help of others. You can access the MPA Community Care Fund if your family needs additional help or resources right now.

Over the course of the last several months, numerous community members have stepped forward to support one another and many others are looking for ways to help. Here are a few things that come to mind with links:

  1. Connect with other families in your grade level’s Schoology group and/or Facebook page. click here >
  2. Send notes or emails of encouragement to students.
  3. Let teachers and staff know you support them with this week’s appreciation activities. click here >
  4. Contribute to the Community Care Fund. click here >
  5. Refer MPA to prospective families. click here >
  6. Donate lunch and transportation fees back to the school. click here >
  7. Participate in Give from Home Week. click here >
  8. Be a Buddy Family next year by signing up to support our new families joining us in the fall. click here >
  9. Consider being a part of the Parents Association next year as an event lead or grade representative. click here >
  10. Share your knowledge by guest lecturing in a class or after school virtual activity. click here >

MPA is fortunate to have such a strong, caring, and vibrant community and your generosity continues to humble and inspire me. Acts of kindness abound. Resembling Forest Gump, a bit, I will keep running. As with most of our lives, I ask you join me virtually. Whether you are a runner or a fan, together we will make it to the finish line.

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