On being thankful

By Rachel Deems
Head of School

This Thanksgiving and every day, I am grateful for the impact of Spartanburg Day School and for those who create our community of trust. Too many times since school started in August, I have walked across campus and viewed the flags lowered in mourning following one of the now frequent acts of violence and hate across our country. Coupled with natural disasters and the loss and devastation left in their wake, our students have had a lot to absorb over the past few months. One could make a case that the frequency and the 24-hour news cycle surrounding all is causing this to be a new normal for their generation. I find myself struggling at times to understand the actions of hate and the unforgiving ways of nature. I challenge my own actions by asking are we doing enough to contribute to optimal social and moral outcomes for this generation of students entrusted to the Day School?

And then I step into a classroom or into the Dent or onto a field or court. When I witness the balance of support and challenge being given in abundance by our faculty and staff to this generation of students I see first hand the power of education for good and the shaping of lives for good. Whether you are a three-year-old learning to wait for your turn, or a second grader who in exasperation gives up on a math problem only to have a teacher nudge you to try one more time, or the sixth grader who experiences the necessity of rewrites and editing that bring about an improved essay; a freshman who gets a boost of confidence from a teacher who says, “You will master this concept,” or an artist whose talents are allowed to creatively unfold; an athlete who learns as much from a defeat as from a victory, or the student volunteer who gives back to the community, there is an opportunity for good that exists within these walls, freely shared by our faculty and staff with our students and with each other. Safe to learn, safe to form big ideas, safe to fail, safe to soar ­– we are that place.

So at a time when one could risk a cynical moment or a jaded idea about the future of the world, I am fortunate enough to be a part of a place where goodness abounds, goodness is modeled and goodness is valued. I hope you feel the same and join me as one of many grateful Griffins this week.

Enjoy this holiday of Thanksgiving, for I am grateful for each and every one of you!