Friday, May 22, 2020
This week, we have wrapped up what I hope will be the most unusual school year ever. The staff, faculty and administration have thoughtfully restructured most of our ceremonies that celebrate the end of a school year into drive by and stop by events, virtual parties, celebrations and assemblies, as well as a socially-distanced picnic for the seniors with me.
I am in awe of the amazingly creative learning opportunities that our faculty have created this spring as well as the grit and perseverance that our students demonstrated. There have been virtual bedtime stories, fitness challenges for PE, a “Netflix series” project to demonstrate student understanding of the montheistic religions studied in seventh grade history, super short story writing in sixth grade, dramatized and presented on Flipgrid, passion projects in eighth grade environmental science, personal letters in the style of Jane Austen written by seniors, videos made by Upper School Chemistry students to teach chemistry principles to Lower School students, and so many more culminating activities to close out the school year.
While this was a school year none of us could have envisioned, we have been busy searching for the silver linings since the onset of the pandemic. The deep learning that has taken place and the flexibility and support for others that every member of our community has revealed is likely our shiniest moment: it is what truly sets McGehee apart. Students themselves have stepped up and found ways to support their sisters in other grades. Just this week, the Class of 2021 decorated the main gate to demonstrate their love for our seniors. Parents reached out to faculty and staff with kind notes of gratitude and alumnae marked their love of and loyalty to the school by offering giving challenges, to mention a few. These moments of collaboration both large and small were often spontaneous, but validated what we knew all along–at McGehee’s heart lies its people. Students, faculty, staff, administrators, parents, alumnae have come together, while socially distancing, to make the best of a terrible situation. For that, I am immensely proud and deeply humbled.
It is important to note at the academic year’s end that we will have a change in leadership for the Parents' League, as always. After an incredible year of leading our parents in fun and fund-raising, Leslie Tallant will be passing the baton of the Parents’ League leadership to Andrea Mahfouz, who will continue to serve as the Middle and Upper School Librarian as well as the 2020-2021 Parents’ League President. Andrea’s Vice President and President in 2021-2022 is Dorian Stone.
We will be saying au revoir to a few faculty members this year who are either retiring after many years, or taking the opportunity to explore other opportunities. Among those retiring are math teachers Jean Curran (US) and Nancy Hansen (MS), Lower School learning specialist, Deborah Robinson ‘69, and Upper School choir director, Jennifer King. They have each given McGehee School many years of loyal and loving service.
Math teacher, Carrie Wright ‘98, science teacher, Gabrielle Nata, Pre-K teacher Julie Kahle, first grade teacher Gina Khatib, and Little Gate teachers, Andrea Dupree and Amy Cain, and Little Gate’s administrative assistant, Renee Huete, will be pursuing new paths after this year’s close. We wish them each the best as they enter the next chapter of their lives and thank them for all that they have done for our students.
May you have a wonderful summer!
Head of School