The first letter that I remember writing as Head of School at Cate was in July of 1998. I don’t recall much of what I wrote, save for a short paragraph on various back-to-school rituals I had become accustomed to over the years. Who doesn’t enjoy a pattern that we expect we can rely on?
It occurs to me now, when there is almost nothing familiar about the manner in which we have started at Cate, how much I took for granted a few decades ago. Every moment these days is an exercise in trying to create a future (or the opening of school) that is only partly within our control to affect. The need to constantly plan and re-plan, adjust, and improve is a powerful lesson not simply in humility, but in fortitude, commitment, and care—the very qualities we need most right now.
Perhaps that is just serendipity. Remember that proverb that suggests our challenges are visited upon us according to our capacity to meet them? Our current context is evidence then of just what we are capable of as people, as communities of people, as nations, and as a species. Whatever we believe, I suppose, this time is telling us to believe in each other.
It may seem a strange conclusion to draw when there is so much conflict and suffering in the world, but it is the approach we are choosing to take at Cate, evidence of our faith in our ability and everyone’s ability to be part of the solution.
The following video that coincided with the beginning of classes this week speaks specifically to the path ahead here and the manner in which we intend to realize the immense possibilities of this unprecedented time.