By Suzanne Gorman, Head of Downtown Campus

Happy 2019! We’ve dived right back into the swing of things here at the High School. And, as has been tradition here since (we think) sometime in the 1990s, we celebrate the New Year by sharing “The Lives They Lived” with our students in Morning Meeting.

“The Lives They Lived” is the name of an annual New York Times Magazine edition, published in late December of each year with short articles about people who died that year. However, most of them are not household names or celebrities, but instead people who lived remarkable lives but are largely unknown. Alexandra kicked things off on Wednesday by sharing the story of Aiko Yoshinaga, a Japanese-American woman who was sent to an internment camp just shy of her high school graduation. Faculty and staff will relate stories of other fascinating people throughout the coming days, each one at the end of Morning Meeting (temporarily replacing the poem we normally close with). We love the opportunity to do this with and for the students, as they are on the cusp of wondering what to do with their lives, how to make an impact. There are, as we adults know, myriad ways, and “The Lives They Lived” provides the opportunity for inspiration.

Speaking of inspiration, another January tradition is the alumni panel presentation about college for 11th and 12th graders. Five recent graduates in college spent an hour with us on Wednesday to talk about the transition to college and dispense advice on roommates, advisors, academics, homesickness, and social life to the juniors and seniors. Many thanks to Natalie McClain ’18, James Risley ’17, Charley Drew-Wolak ’16, Nan Elpers ’16, and Sam Edwards-Kuhn ’16 for taking the time to come back and share!

One final note: the faculty and staff returned to school on Monday, a day before the students.  We had an enriching professional development day led by various faculty members. High School faculty Brett Paice and Michelle Salerno, along with Goshen faculty member Danny Ruano, shared insights from their recent trip to the NAIS People of Color Conference. Goshen teacher and Dean of Students Shelly Jones led a continuation of an activity from last January’s PD day centered around our students and their internal and external identities. And we watched the film The Hate U Give and had some discussion following. It was a terrific way for us to kick off 2019!