Wednesday, November 29, 2017
It is nice having everyone back on campus as we get underway with the winter term. The academic year is unfolding well and a spirited senior class is effectively leading the student body. This period of the year is highlighting the immense talent on campus, from academic accomplishments to wonderful achievements in the arts and athletics.
We are excited for the upcoming performances of "Hairspray" on December 6, 7, 8, and 9. More than 70 students and nearly 20 faculty members are involved with the musical. This Tony-Award winning production (eight Tony's including best musical) is based on a 1988 John Waters film and tells a story from the early 1960s in Baltimore. As you can imagine, our students and faculty (under the direction of Tom Dugan) have invested a great deal of energy and effort into this endeavor.
We will recognize our outstanding fall athletic season with an event this evening in Brewster Hall. Four fall teams made very selective postseason tournaments (field hockey, girls' and boys' soccer, and volleyball). The field hockey team finished the regular season 17-0 with nine shutout wins and two victories in overtime. Girls' soccer was 13-3-2 and boys' soccer (13-6-1) made it to the NEPSAC semifinals. Across the board—from the teams cited above to cross country, boys' water polo, and football—our athletes played with intensity and grit and beautifully represented Suffield.
Our seniors, with the support of their college counselors and recommendations by their teachers, have been closely focused on college applications as 2017 comes to a close. The growth of early action, early decision, and rolling admission programs has accelerated the application calendar. This was part of what led to Suffield's comprehensive four-year approach to college counseling, which is certainly helping our students navigate this challenging process. More details about the program can be found at suffieldacademy.org/college.
As the Memorial Building expansion and renovation project unfolds so too does our strategic planning for Suffield. Thank you to the many parents who shared feedback in the survey (suffieldacademy.org/survey). Our faculty spent time earlier this week reviewing responses from parents and trustees and focusing on ideas related to the the school's future. As we work through priorities it has been very reaffirming to see the overwhelming support for Suffield's educational philosophy (blending challenge and encouragement) and our commitment to key traditions.
Our faculty also met on Monday with Dr. Omekongo Dibinga. His visit was supported by funds endowed for professional development and growth. Omekongo's interactive presentation highlighted aspects that define culturally competent schools. He gave us specific, useful strategies for further understanding and engaging students in their learning.
In preparation for winter, parents should be aware that the school will send texts to all domestic parents with mobile phone numbers in our database when there are announcements related to scheduling and inclement weather. We will be sending a message to test the system next Tuesday (December 5). Since the majority of Suffield Academy's students reside on campus, we do not normally suspend classes or activities during snowstorms or other extreme weather conditions. Although classes and school activities will occur, day student families are asked to make their own decision regarding the safety of travel. In the case of absences due to inclement weather please notify the Dean of Students' Office (860-386-4492). Our faculty understands there will be no academic penalties for excused absences and will offer appropriate help for any missed classes.
Thank you to the many parents who have already supported this year's Annual Fund. Our high levels of parent, alumni, and faculty participation are the envy of other independent schools and have helped enhance all areas of school life.
Hillary and I send best wishes from Suffield.