I had the pleasure of meeting dozens of freshman parents on Tuesday night at the new parent dinner. These fearless folks braved the hot October weather (the real summer in the Bay Area) to make new friends and learn about the community they have joined. I was thrilled to welcome them again to the Marin Academy family, and share a little bit about their children.
Even though we’re only in the sixth week of classes (or fifth rotation, in MA planner-speak), the class of 2016 has already begun to distinguish itself. For example, among this group of students, we have a nationally ranked chess player, some really fast runners who are distinguishing themselves on the cross-country team, and some gifted thespians who will make appearances in the fall theater production. We have some stellar math students and some thoughtful poets.
Already, we have a group of record-breakers: for example, more than 17 freshmen have names that begin with the letter J. That includes 5 Jacks, if you can believe it. For those parents of Jacks out there, I can tell you that as a parent of a Jack myself, you have very good taste! (A shout-out to the parents of Henrys too, since I don’t want to favor one of my sons over the other!)
Other records include the fact that ten members of the class of 2016—that’s 10%—ran for class representative, showing that they are a civically-minded group. In addition, the largest number of freshmen in MA history applied to be tutors with the Crossroads program, demonstrating their proclivity and passion for service learning.
But more than the standouts and record-breaking, what I keep hearing over and over again is how friendly and open these students are. Here are some quotes from their advisors:
“These kids have found ways to fit in—and to fit others in. They are breaking through friend groups they came in with, and going out of their way to reach out and make new friends.”
“My freshman students have a really high comfort level with each other. They are upbeat, and the energy is so positive and encouraging.”
“They are a kind, inclusive group that is a pleasure to be around.”
From the conversations that I heard at the new parent dinner, I can see that they learned these skills from their parents. We know that what students learn here builds on the foundation that our parents have established over the last 13 or 14 years. We also know that it will carry with them throughout the rest of their lives.
I often come back to the same piece of advice when addressing new parents, which is that I hope they will become actively involved and enrich the lives of our students. After Tuesday night, I feel confident that we’re on the same page, and they’re doing that already. I’m so excited to continue to get to know our new families during the next four years—they will go by very quickly!