Tuesday, June 25, 2013
As the summer break begins we have now turned our focus to the 2013-2014 academic year. The purpose of this letter is to communicate with you about some emerging plans.
An email was recently sent from the Headmaster's Office with various forms related to next year. These can also be found on our website, along with the sequence of summer mailings (www.suffieldacademy.org/studentforms
). Parents of rising seniors should have recently received a mailing from the College Counseling Office.
In September we will welcome students from 18 states and 26 countries. Nearly 1,000 students have interviewed for 120 available openings. While the largest number of boarding students come from Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York, we will have several students from New Jersey, Texas, and California. Two-thirds of the day students are from Connecticut and one-third from Massachusetts. A unique aspect of Suffield's student enrollment is that 40% of our students have relatives who are currently attending or previously attended Suffield. This includes 29 legacies (mother or father attended) and 127 siblings.
The Summer Academy at Suffield will begin on June 30. This is a five-week academic enrichment program with 120 students from around the world and faculty from Suffield and other secondary schools. In addition to academic work, the Summer Academy offers a variety of afternoon options and weekend travel to Manhattan, Boston, and Newport. Several athletic and arts camps will also be taking place on the Suffield campus during the coming weeks.
Two major construction projects are unfolding—the science center and a new road on the northern portion of campus. The science construction can be tracked on our school's webcam at web.suffieldacademy.org/webcam. The road will serve two important purposes: removing vehicle traffic from the center of campus and providing space for an expansion of Brewster Hall. Plans and fundraising for the Brewster project are unfolding well. We will also close the 2013 Annual Fund on June 30 and hope to again reach 90% parent participation. This has been a great symbol of Suffield's strength in the past few years, and this percentage places us in the top quartile nationally.
Another emerging campus project has been the vision of my wife, faculty member Hillary Rockwell Cahn '88. The plan is to build a center on the western part of campus—next to the Courtney Robinson '88 Outdoor Leadership Center—for healthy lifestyle activities including yoga, pilates, and barre classes, and a quiet lounge for reflection. Several friends have contributed funds to make this possible, and additional information will soon be available for others interested in helping. Our plan is to offer evening and weekend programs in the facility, led by faculty and visiting instructors. The overarching goals are (1) to create another way for Suffield students and faculty to step away from their busy, technology-filled worlds and focus on their overall wellness and health; and (2) create more experiences for students that can inspire positive, lifelong activities. The building and series of programs are for every student—those familiar with these activities and those with no previous exposure. This is about helping people be more balanced and happy, and we feel it is another initiative that supports Suffield's mission and adds value to our school.
Suffield's 2013-2014 school theme will center on the concept of identity. The annual school theme focuses on the idea of having a touchstone program for all students and faculty throughout the academic year—a shared intellectual experience—and raising awareness of pertinent and timely issues. Previous themes have included creativity, excess and sustainability, courage, loyalty, and resilience. This year's theme centers on understanding who we are as people. Identity is our set of attributes, beliefs, desires, or principles of action that lead us and shape our self-image. It is the distinguishing characteristic belonging to an individual or shared by members of a particular group. Our community text is Walter Littlemoon's "They Called Me Uncivilized," and Walter will join us on campus on September 30.
New faculty members will join us in English, science, performing arts, and admissions. I will send information about these new community members in my next letter, along with more details about the upcoming academic year. In the meantime, Hillary and I hope everyone's summer is off to a great start, and we send our best wishes from Suffield.