Tuesday, January 15, 2013
I wanted to send along some news from Suffield as we proceed through the winter term. Our students are very engaged and busy, and many events fill our calendar between now and the March vacation. From strong early decision college placement results to an outstanding winter athletic season, the school is thriving. The winter midterm will conclude on January 18 and grades will be emailed to parents by the 25th.
We were joined on campus yesterday by Hal Elrod, who shared a remarkable story of resilience. After being hit head on by a drunk driver and found dead-at-the-scene at age 20, Hal defied all logic. Despite suffering permanent brain damage and being told he would never walk again, he has gone on to become a bestselling author, a success coach, and an ultra-marathon runner (52 consecutive miles). Hal spoke about his two books, Taking Life Head On and The Miracle Morning, and shared his courageous journey with our community. Next week we will honor the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday with Ty Howard, who will talk about on the importance of believing in ourselves and pursuing our dreams and goals.
The Winter Guitar Show will take place on January 19 in the Jeanice Seaverns Performing Arts Center. Our students—and many parents—love this event and we hope many of you can join us. Earlier that day we will be hosting a program for parents of juniors (Suffield's Class of 2014) about the college search process (http://www.suffieldacademy.org/college
). In addition to learning more about how Suffield supports families in the college search, parents will hear from admission officers from Gettysburg College, Hamilton College, and Northeastern University. Most of our eleventh graders will take the SAT on January 26, and all juniors are now in the middle of the College 101 program, an integral part of our Leadership curriculum. This course provides an overview of several important areas: the college counseling process at Suffield, options for standardized test preparation and the differences between the SAT and the ACT, shaping a college list, and writing effective application essays. Lastly, our Regional Studies History projects will be displayed on campus on the evenings of January 22 and 24.
Trustee Suzy Vogler and her husband Bill P '10 hosted a wonderful Suffield reception at their home last week where several prospective families joined parents and alumni (http://tinyurl.com/SuffieldReception
). Along these lines, our admissions office is meeting with a large number of guests interested in applying to Suffield. Nearly 200 families will visit in January as we reach our first-round admissions deadline, and our applicant pool should again be quite strong.
As we look to the spring, I wanted to note that the 2013-2014 academic calendar and reenrollment contracts for returning students will be mailed from Suffield during the first week of February. As I will mention in the cover letter accompanying the calendar, our 2013 Commencement speaker will be Mark Tolosky P'10, '11, President and CEO of Baystate Health. Mark is a talented and distinguished leader, and his sincere affection for Suffield will surely help shape an inspirational message.
Finally, as we proceed through winter term I should again outline our inclement weather policy. Since the majority of Suffield Academy's students reside on campus, the school does 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 about the safety of travel and to notify the school in the cases of absences due to the weather, following our standard procedure for reporting an absence to 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.
If poor weather causes a delay in the start of classes because of dangerous campus conditions, this information will be accessible through our website, our campus intranet (email) system, our mass notification texts, and by calling our Emergency Communication Line at 860-386-4404. These decisions will be communicated to students, parents, and faculty through these vehicles by 6:00 a.m. Administrative functions at the school such as meals and switchboard coverage will continue along scheduled hours.
In closing, I want to thank the many parents who contributed to the Annual Fund during the holidays. The fact that more than 90% of current parents supported the Annual Fund last year made Suffield the envy of schools in this important area. Fortunately we are headed for similar results for 2012-2013. Thank you for your partnership in our work with your children, and Hillary and I send our best wishes for the new year.