In some ways, 2021 delivered on the promise of “brighter days ahead.” And in others, 2021 was just as challenging. It was a time where we, again, looked ourselves in the mirror. What did we see? As we reflect on the past year, we remember and celebrate how our team embraced new challenges and spent the year growing stronger.
We Came Back Together
In 2021 we said goodbye to Zoom happy hours and welcomed back safe, small, in-person gatherings. We welcomed our school communities back into our buildings, our alumni studied on college campuses, and we began to feel in-person community together again.
The last 12 months have taught us many lessons – perhaps, most of all, that we cannot know what the future holds. But we know what success in the future will demand – and that’s people who can persevere through unprecedented and unparalleled challenges. That is our Class of 2021. In a time marked by Zoom rooms, virtual clubs, and online classes, this group of young people persevered. Together with their teachers and leaders, they made our community come alive online. Adversity came in many forms during their high school experience – a year and a half of school during a pandemic, an overdue national reckoning, and personal and collective grief – but through it all, the Class of 2021 continued growing stronger.
We Embraced Gratitude
In the words of our Interim CEO, Fatimah Barker, “gratitude prevails.” Though the challenges of the past year and its impact on all of us are still very real, 2021 taught us that our values matter most. It is our values that define and reflect who we are and who we must be. We are grateful for our communities, for our school community, for the lessons of the past, the gift of the present and the potential of the future.
We take this gratitude, sense of perseverance, and reverence for community forward with us into 2022. Though we are ringing in the new year with familiar challenges from the past, we know, firsthand, that growing stronger is only possible when we are challenged.