News from the Hilltop

A Letter from Head of School Alixe Callen

The following letter was sent to the community on June 1, 2020.

St. George's School

Dear St. George's Family,

Many times throughout the last few months we've been challenged by our inability to gather as a community. Disappointments mounted as we faced the reality that in order to keep our community safe and well, we would not be able to be together on the Hilltop. This week, however, the pain of being apart feels particularly acute as we face the hard news of the day: the racial injustice that has once again divided our country, and the horrifying toll of the coronavirus.

I had expected to be writing to our families today with a promised update about our return to school in the fall. However, in light of these painful struggles, that letter can wait. I want to pause, reflect, and reaffirm what St. George's stands for and why the work we do here is so utterly important to the world we will become.

Last night I wrote to our immediate school community, sharing the despair and outrage I feel in relation to the events of the world, including the recent killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor. The protests we are seeing in response are not a mere wake-up call. They are a stark recognition that the pains and failures of our nation's past threaten to hold hostage our country's future, the future our students will have to navigate.

In my letter last night my goals were to foster reflection and discourse. To that end, I suggested to students that they re-listen to the September 2018 chapel talk by Associate Head of School Mervan Osborne '86 in which he shared his experience of being wrongly accused of a crime. If you were not present for this talk, I encourage you to take the time to view it here. While listening to another story of injustice might add to the weight of this time, it serves both as a reminder that our community is not immune from the effects of racism and as a catalyst for the important conversations that must take place in the coming days and weeks.

Over the course of my time here on the Hilltop, I have been encouraged by our students' willingness to grapple with the most painful of issues. This moment is no different. Though it is summer, our students have asked for more opportunities to gather to discuss the difficult questions facing our nation, our world, and our community. While we cannot begin to provide answers, we can make sure that every one of our students is embraced by this community and that there are spaces for all students to safely and thoughtfully engage with their peers and teachers.

The St. George's School mission calls on us to prepare students to "lead lives of constructive service to the world and God." That is the important work we are called to do every day. We are committed to that mission today, tomorrow, and when we return to this campus in the fall. 

Sincerely,

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Alixe Callen
Head of School