Dr. Grauer's Column - 196 Days
Dr. Grauer’s Assembly Welcoming to Students
The Grauer School's weekly assemblies on Tuesdays are a special part of the school's community, and we don't want to miss that feeling of togetherness that we all get as we gather all the students and staff together each week. Since we can't gather in large groups due to the pandemic, the school holds virtual assemblies in smaller groups every Tuesday after lunch. Assemblies always begin with a message from Dr. Stuart Grauer, and this was his message to the students for Tuesday, September 29. You can read the text of his message below, or watch Dr. Grauer's video message by clicking on the image at the bottom of this column.
Welcome back on campus! What we once took for granted seems like a miracle today. Thanks to all Grauer families and staff for all you have done and are doing to make our school and classes vital over seven and half months of pandemic. Coming back to campus after a 196-day march through unknown territory is a great coming home, a cause for great celebration. Our assembly today and every week is a ceremony that is created to make sure our school always has space for celebration.
You, students, are not returning with or to exactly the same place you left. This time, you have backpacks you know you have to wash or disinfect every week, and water bottles that are labelled and must not be shared.
We are returning a little more careful than when we left. When we stay distanced, we are protecting one another. There is so much to know about staying healthy together. But this much we know: We are better together.
Our pandemic is still growing, still getting worse in many places. We believe we are in a safe space here on our campus. We have more protections on our campus than any public place I have ever seen. I and quite a few others have spent almost every day for these past months jamming this campus with an amazing array of features to keep everyone safe. We now have 16 unique outdoor classrooms, including a tree house and a beach! Please enjoy our beautiful campus. We are incredibly lucky.
But we also owe it to students around the world to care about their well-being, and 1.6 billion students have had their educations disrupted. We are not the only ones on a strange odyssey. There are literally teacherless classrooms. Many students are learning from home, but they have less real teaching than ever, and cyberbullying and loneliness are climbing.
So, it is always bittersweet celebrating—we do so with a quality of gratitude. We do not take our luck for granted—or the mountains of work of so many that “invited” that luck in. Ceremony is the house where gratitude lives. So, this week’s assembly is a milestone.
This week’s full return to campus marks the 30th Grauer School opening, a greater milestone still. We ask our students: Do you know what a milestone is?
Today, we have apps that tell us how far we have traveled. But long ago, milestones were stone markers placed by the side of a road that showed the distance in miles to a place we wanted to go. Now the milestone has become a metaphor. It means: an important point in our progress; a very important event or advance.
In addition to returning to school, the completion of our expeditions last week is one of my favorite milestones we celebrate today. We have returned home safely from places all over the area. We have come from near and far. Our unbelievable faculty produced 76 unique, local passion projects. Through them all, our students have shown courage and made new connections. This is all a cause for happiness.
Preparing for all of our return after this amazing 196-day odyssey, our whole faculty gathered together to celebrate both our 30th year and also my 70th birthday. I felt enormously grateful and humbled by a beautiful showing of support and many gifts. And, I felt embarrassed by being the center of attention. But I also thought: Where do I get off being embarrassed? What if we were too embarrassed come together in celebration? What if we had a school community that did not have milestones like those two? So, thank you all who celebrated with me—there is no way I can repay your support other than hard work.
Ceremony is a restart, and it clears the path forward. We look out ahead clearly, far, and start another journey to another milestone. The next Grauer ceremony to come is the freshman class matriculation ceremony, and each of you students surely has milestones in your private life that are equally important.
Welcome back to the start of our third decade, our next journey together. I am glad I am on it with you. What do you think that journey will be like? What would you like to make of it?
Be courageous, raise your voice, try things. We will be here with you in person and in ceremony when you get to the next milestone, wherever it is. Welcome back everyone.
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