An Evening of Appreciation - October 10, 2019

[Head of School Clair Ward delivered the following remarks on October 10, 2019, at the 1936 Society Reception for leadership donors and volunteers. See more photos from the event.]

I want to welcome you all to Winslow and thank you for coming tonight. In addition to all of the many things you do for Shore, I appreciate your willingness to be with us. The opportunity to thank you in person for all you do makes tonight so meaningful.

This has been an unbelievable week of community at Shore. As a Head of School, I am in the unique position to both see and live even the smallest moments day in and day out on campus. Each of them reminds me of Shore’s strength and vitality.

  • On Monday, we welcomed our class rep parents to a new meeting that allows me to partner more deeply with families. I was struck by how quickly parents welcomed each other and how generously they partnered with us to generate ideas for better supporting families.
  • On Tuesday, we welcomed the Shore Fund volunteers who passionately shared their Shore Stories highlighting ways that the school has made a difference in the lives of their children.
  • Wednesday, a Shore parent shared her story. At temple this week, families were asked to move to an assigned area that most reflected their happy place: nature, community, family, etc. Perplexed about which to choose, the 4th grader turned to his mother to ask which location had school in it. As it turns out, this 4th grade Shore student’s happy place is school.
  • Shore sustains people even during the sad moments. On Saturday, we will host a Celebration of Life service for Shore alum Madeline Lund ‘05, who passed tragically in a car accident last weekend. This event allows the Lund family to begin their healing process here at their Shore home, with their Shore family; and it allows all of us to begin processing the devastating loss of someone so young.
This is one incredible week of community…an incredible week of Shore.

And we have an incredible year of Shore ahead of us. This year we begin to create a vision for the future of the school we all love so much. After two years of analysis and data collection, we are launching an inclusive strategic planning process that will allow us to see the future in a very Shore Country Day School way—something that has never been more important than it is right now. National Association of Independent Schools president Donna Orem recently shared observations about our industry. Research models on school sustainability predicts that nearly 50% of current independent schools will be out of business in 10 years. Orem says that the surviving schools will have three things in common—things that Shore is addressing:
  1. Leadership stability
  2. Focus (strategic board)
  3. Innovation and long-term perspective (strategic plan)
While some Heads and Boards take this news as a concern, we take it as challenge accepted! Now is Shore’s opportunity. Now is our moment to shine and continue pursuing the best version of Shore—just as we have been doing since 1936.

Our opening day flag-raising brought us the theme of Being a Superhero. The children and I have been inspired by kids like Greta Thunberg and the Kid President; we have also been inspired by each other. Tonight, YOU are our inspiration. Through your generosity, you have not only been our very own superheroes, but you have helped Shore continue raising the next generation of superheroes. The seeds you have helped us plant are the seeds of human potential.

Each of you is part of our Shore journey of success. As we prepare to launch this year’s Shore Fund, we are aware that your commitment helps us continue fulfilling our mission and our purpose. In addition to supporting our children, your willingness to be leadership donors and volunteers signals our families that their own support for Shore is so valuable. Know that my husband Bryon and I will once again join you at the leadership level to demonstrate to our community the importance of this support.

Shore is on the move right now and we have you to thank for that. It is a privilege to have you as our partners in offering the area’s finest education to the next generation of superheroes! Thank you.
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