Giving Thanks in a Time of Challenge: Farewell to 2019

Giving Thanks in a Time of Challenge: Farewell to 2019

December 20, 2019

As we prepare to bid farewell to 2019, we can reflect on a year that challenged, surprised, delighted, and tested us. 

It is perhaps stating the obvious to say that 2019 has tested each of us in a deeply personal way. Setting aside the institutional challenges of maintaining a safe, caring, purposeful, and academically rigorous school in a time of social unrest, each member of the ISF community has no doubt experienced events to which they have reacted, responded, and reflected in the past few months. Such testing times serve to highlight our strengths and perhaps provide timely reminders of those areas in need of development. How have we responded to doubt and anxiety? Have we shown patience and perseverance? Have we been wise in all of our choices? We finish the year with perhaps a clearer picture of our own values, commitments, and character. This is not a bad thing at all. 

The happiest people on earth, I am told, are also thankful people. It is therefore fitting that we pause to give thanks in our own way for the many things that inspire, encourage, or sustain us in our lives, whether at ISF, or beyond. I know I feel a great sense of gratitude to all of my colleagues and our parent and student community for their generosity of spirit and adamant commitment to learning at ISF. I am also thankful for the amazing commitment and courage shown daily by our students as they engage their curiosity and creativity to learn. To paraphrase the great educational thinker, Kurt Hahn, there is much more in each of us than we think; we can be thankful for the opportunity to gain some sense of the untapped or lightly tapped potential that only begins to awaken at a time of need. 

The year has been one institutional testing through the preparations and reports submitted as a part of the CIS/WASC/IB re-accreditation and evaluation process. While the formal processes have concluded, pending formal notification from these authorities concerning the outcome of the evaluation, the areas in need of more attention and development will help us chart a course in the new year, just two short weeks away. 

Please accept my best wishes for a Christmas season of peace and restoration. I too look forward to a new year in which we work towards a better and more peaceful world, at least in our part of it! 



Dr. Malcolm Pritchard

Head of School

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