Happy Thanksgiving from Penny Evins

Dear Members of the Collegiate Community,
It is a time of year for all of us to reflect upon our many blessings and opportunities we have to give thanks to those in our lives. As such, I want to let you know how grateful I am to be with you in this community of learners and serving our Collegiate. My family, Sam, Sam VI, June Friend, Ansley, the Cougar pup, and I are feeling at home and want to make sure we thank you for helping this be so.

You share your children with me and with all of us at Collegiate. This is a tremendous privilege and a sustaining and energizing gift. During the past months and throughout my transition year, last year, the alumni, faculty, staff and current families of Collegiate have been warm and purposeful in their outreach and desire to connect with me and share stories about their hopes and the value the Collegiate experience brings to them. As I meet with hundreds of prospective families, I know that your positivity and optimism for our school drives their interest. All of us at Collegiate thank you for this.

I think about our founder, Helen Baker, and the many hearts and minds who grew the original ideas for a school where we nurture “good citizens in the widest sense” into our current Collegiate School. Your volunteerism, participation, philanthropy and intentional partnerships have allowed us to become a place where thousands of children feel at home. You allow our faculty and staff to feel appreciated and purposeful in their calling as educators and as my teammates. More than 100 years later, we are indeed learning “beyond the book” and striving to become better citizens for the greater world each day. 

I look for examples of our mission in action and see them on daily walks and posted on our social media. I also listen to our students and our faculty and staff as they share stories with me. From watching our students perform at various concerts, witnessing a rehearsal and the final product of Chicago, cheering beside students and adult fans during athletic events, sitting with our students in weekly assemblies led by and focused upon our own JK-12th Graders, seeing our younger Cougars learning how to take turns and healthy risks on the playground, witnessing and reading about interdisciplinary application of skills learned in context of world issues, employing design thinking across the curriculum, sitting in the audience at our own Oates Theater as Cougars, both current and an alum, took the stage at the TEDxYouth@RVA, walking underneath students solving scientific principles on high ropes, learning about Envision Richmond, seeing our students Envision Collegiate, visiting the VMFA, Valentine and area tours to see the possibility of connections in our own backyard, it has been a wonderful first half of the year for me. 

These experiences and many more ground and inspire me. I know the appetite for relevant and impactful learning is alive and well at Collegiate! Thank you for supporting our programmatic growth and allowing us to inspire and develop the intellectual, moral, emotional and physical development of each student, as called for in our mission. 

As I prepare to celebrate special holiday traditions with my family, I am full of gratitude for you, your children, my colleagues and the Greater Richmond community. Thank you again for sharing yourselves with me and my family. In closing, I wish you much joy and peace as you experience this season with your family and friends. I look forward to knowing you better and helping our Collegiate continue on a clear and educational path as we move toward a new year and a bright future. May yours be a safe and enriching Thanksgiving with loved ones. 

Penny B. Evins
Click on the photo above to hear a message from Mironda Starke's 2nd Grade class.