Head of School’s Notebook

January 18, 2024

Last year, after accepting the job at Cate, my family and I visited the Mesa during MLK weekend. We attended all of the festivities that day and I remember thinking to myself how powerful and unusual it felt to see a community collectively taking ownership of building a beloved community.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke about the promise of beloved community where “goodwill will transform the deep gloom of the old age into the exuberant gladness of the new age. It is this love which will bring about miracles in the hearts of men.” A year later, my wonder and admiration for Cate is even stronger now knowing how seriously we all take our shared responsibility to nurture this new age, a promise embodied by our students who live and learn within our walls.

Our keynote speaker, Ademola Oyewole-Davis, spoke of the bird Sankofa, a symbol in the Akan tribe of Ghana, whose feet are facing forward with it’s head turned backward as a symbol for the dual importance of moving forward while also honoring the past. This felt like an apt metaphor for our community as we discussed the Black community’s powerful transformation of the “deep gloom of the old age into the exuberant gladness of the new age” through creative self-expression and the birth of the hip-hop movement and emergence of the Black Renaissance.

The same could be said for the beloved community here at Cate, with feet facing forward and heads turned toward the past, as we considered our own collective power. Mr. Oyewole-Davis urged us to move beyond doubt when sharing our gift, trusting that what we have to say will be just what people need to hear.

Thank you, Mr. Oyewole-Davis, and the many members of the Cate community who shared their gifts and “exuberant gladness” in service of this important day of remembrance and action. What you shared is just what we all needed to hear.