August 13, 2020
by Dr. Bill Hudson, Head of School
With the beginning of the school year less than two weeks away, I find myself increasingly excited to greet our returning students and ever so eager to welcome our outstanding new students. No matter how many years as an educator, the start of a new school year is as exhilarating to me as it is to a new teacher. This year is no different. And yet, the year ahead will be different and will present challenges that we will collectively need to overcome.
As I reflected on a guiding theme for this year, I kept coming back to the importance of resiliency. Perhaps I was influenced by the life and death of U.S. Representative and Civil Rights hero John Lewis several weeks ago. Like many, the depth of my sadness in his passing was buoyed by reflecting on the impact he had over the course of his life. Mr. Lewis suffered life-threatening setbacks and faced hardship that many of us cannot imagine. However, he developed the resiliency necessary to persevere and succeed.
Most definitions of resilience center on the ability to recover from setbacks, adapt well to change, and keep going in the face of adversity. Author Diane Coutu has observed that resilient people possess three characteristics—a staunch acceptance of reality; a deep belief, often buttressed by strongly held values, that life is meaningful; and an uncanny ability to improvise. I would say that as an institution, MPA is most definitely resilient. From its inception, MPA has had to overcome its share of obstacles and a number of setbacks. It has done so by staying true to a compelling mission through creativity and innovation.
Time and again, MPA teachers have demonstrated their resiliency. We saw evidence of that last spring as we moved to virtual school and resiliency will enable us to confront and successfully transcend our reality throughout the school year. John Lewis has said, “We may not have chosen the time, but the time has chosen us.” We did not choose to live in an era of a public health crisis or political, economic, and social unrest. Instead of helplessness and hopelessness, we have the opportunity to model resiliency and foster resilient children. Just imagine what that will enable them to do!