The fall semester at Emma Willard School is off to a strong start! We have seen joyous reunions and budding friendships as our students, new and returning alike, begin to build connections. The rituals of our daily life—classes, athletic and artistic endeavors, meals together in our dining hall—ground us in our pursuits and weave us closer together.
Fall is a time of transition, from a less structured summer to carefully scheduled days and weeks during the academic year. Summer, while distant in the rhythm of our lives in September, hopefully afforded you moments of rest, joy, and inspiration. I had a special summer as my family celebrated milestone birthdays for my husband and my parents. We celebrated by traveling to Galápagos Islands. This unique place—isolated terrain that shelters fantastic plants and animals from the rest of the world’s influence—seemed like the perfect place to explore together. Our time on the islands allowed me to notice and learn from the wisdom of the natural world.
As we kicked off this new year with students I brought lessons from the natural world to my convocation address. Amongst the many fantastic animals that we observed in Galápagos, the red crabs scurrying on the black lava terrain caught my attention, especially a few hidden crabs with blue shells that were hiding under rocks. Those soft shell crabs were wisely seeking shelter during a 48-hour period when they shed their old shell, which they had outgrown, to grow a new larger and better fitting shell. This period of vulnerability was a necessary experience for the crab’s growth.
A similar cycle will be lived by our students. They will wrestle with new ideas and build new skills and friendships. In turn, they will find greater confidence, conviction, and courage, and will need a larger and stronger “shell” to house their expanding hearts and minds. This growth happens slowly over time and involves periods of vulnerability. In my convocation address I encouraged students to see moments of doubt and discomfort as the necessary path to growth. During these difficult times, they ought to seek shelter in the form of asking for help and leaning on friends and family while they grow and strengthen their confidence.
I have the enviable position of witnessing these exceptional students as they find their voice and create unique paths and journeys. Their collective journey is connected and beautifully woven into a network of our remarkable community of alumnae, who themselves have forged inspiring paths in their lives, grounded in the values of our timeless mission; a footprint for future generations of our amazing Emma Willard students. Thank you to all in the Emma community who lead with purpose!
Honoring its founder’s vision, Emma Willard School proudly fosters in each young woman a love of learning, the habits of an intellectual life, and the character, moral strength, and qualities of leadership to serve and shape her world.