Welcoming 2021 with Enduring Values, Focus & Heart

Dear Collegiate Families,

I wish you a Happy New Year and hope with all my heart that you and your loved ones are well. As we begin the second half of our school year, it seems natural to reflect on the fall semester; we have so much for which to be grateful and proud. Continuity of learning during this global pandemic is no small feat. Reimagining our teaching and operations is challenging, yet we continue to grow and discover. We find joy and gratitude for the many ways in which your children are engaged in learning, both in-person and remotely, through their classes as well as Collegiate’s signature opportunities in Responsible Citizenship, Arts, Athletics, Outdoor Collegiate and STEAM Saturdays. Our community is mindful of our gifts as we ready to resume school on January 4 as remote learners so that we may safely open campus on January 11. A reminder to report any exposures or cases to division heads. Our ability to enjoy on-campus learning depends upon each of us doing our part and making decisions as Responsible Cougars, and I thank you for your continued attention.

With ambition and clarity of purpose, we begin 2021 by continuing to pull together for the heartbeat of our school, the children of Collegiate. Each day, we are fueled by our focus on what is best for children and our values of excellence, respect, love of learning, honor and community. As we pursue our mission delivery in partnership with you, our families, I reaffirm what I stated at Convocation: the goal of our community is not perfection but instead to be an interdependent team leaning on and learning from each other. My outstanding colleagues lead by example; without their excellence and dedication, our children would not be recipients of a continuity of learning. As such, many Cougars’ new routines now feel routine. Your children exhibit creativity and incredible perseverance, from which we draw hope and purpose. As parents, you keep our community vibrant through your contributions of time, care, flexibility, philanthropic resources and ideas. We are so very thankful and look forward to a time when you may safely join us on campus once again.

As we welcome 2021, one thing is more certain than ever: we need each other to flourish. Since my arrival, I have drawn wisdom and strength from Collegiate’s founder Helen Baker and her call to "above everything else…live for humanity's sake. I would have you good citizens in the widest sense."  2020 has called us, both on and off campus, to be excellent citizens for each other, with each other and with the greater community. The optimism, hope and energy we feed one another has been the hallmark of our recent experiences together. From JK students exuding curiosity and delight in sharing their outdoor classroom replica; to sixth graders confidently speaking in Chinese to describe Ansley, the Cougar pup, during a recent classroom visit; to Upper Schoolers with full course loads making time to joyfully build community through virtual performances, reimagined traditions, inspiring speeches and an all-star Homecoming Pep Parade, the examples of community and learning at Collegiate are abundant.

Our students have risen to each occasion and seem to understand the necessary skill-set of these unusual times with supreme agility and a sense of selflessness. They realize that most schools are remote or hybrid and that the privilege of on-campus learning for our entire community should not be taken for granted. Our Seniors have much to do with this clear realization and therein our success. I thank our Seniors, the Class of 2021, as they indefatigably lead us with a sense of duty and care for the School they love, despite the year that is so very different from what they hoped, wanted or expected. Our Seniors inspire us to be present, promote growth and development. The Class of 2021 leads with excellence, community and a love of learning for their K buddies and all of us. A symbiotic relationship amongst the people and with the place of Collegiate occurs on this campus; we are partners in humanity and will do our best to continue to grow the good here and in the greater world.

In 2021, let us continue to teach our children what matters most: humanity, health, cooperation, the privilege and power of an education, open hearts and minds, patient application of our best selves and resilience. 2020 allowed us to see humanity with more clarity and taught us not to take one another for granted. The year reminded us to give and receive light and life from the shining hearts and minds of our fellow Cougars, spaced six feet apart, and thanks to technology, those far beyond our city and country. As we begin the New Year, I wish each and every one of you peace, health and joy. 

Thank you for your support in helping me keep Collegiate’s torch bright during this remarkable journey and for our future. With your partnership, I know we will finish the school year strong and carry Helen Baker's founding vision forward with remarkable focus and heart.
Penny B. Evins