I am going to be honest with you. There have been moments during this past week when things have felt very strange and uncomfortable. So many of the safety protocols that allow us to be together on campus also have the effect of making us feel disconnected. It’s a frustrating dynamic.
One of the great parts about being a teacher is looking out over a room full of students and seeing the smiles and other looks of engagement when things are going well. Student faces are so expressive and varied, and it’s a little hard to gauge the mood in a class when masks prevent us from fully seeing one another. I understand that students may feel this same way when looking back across the room and trying to figure out if the teacher is cracking a smile or utterly unamused by the latest disruption to class. I have to confess, when I am in class or in the hallways interacting with students, I am usually cracking a smile under my mask. It just feels so good to be back on campus.
I know that not everyone is back on campus, and I look forward to the day when all members of the community return. However, I am pretty grateful for our tech team whose tireless work has enabled both students and teachers to log into the Priory community from home.
Priory is a different place than it was at the beginning of March 2020. So is the world. When I think about all of the changes to Priory this year, I realize that I have the ability to choose how I feel about them. I can choose to be frustrated that things are not the same as last fall, or I can choose to be grateful for all the work that went into making these changes that allow me to be back on campus and doing what I love. When I choose gratitude over frustration, I feel much better. I realize that none of these minor changes have truly changed the spirit of Priory or what I love about the place.
Please continue to partner with us as we adapt our programs so that our community can stay together.
Students, please continue to wear your masks and keep your distance both on campus and off campus. You have done a pretty great job so far, but there are still moments of forgetfulness. As the school year progresses, be vigilant to protect yourself and those around you. Making these small sacrifices to protect one another is a great embodiment of the brotherhood that makes Priory students so special.
Parents, please continue to help us keep our campus safe. Be sure to fill out the MyPriory screening form each morning. In order to have our doors open, we are required to do these daily screenings. I understand that these screenings are a new part of your morning routine, but the minute or two it takes you to do it will go a long way. Rather than tracking down missing forms and calling you each day, we will be able to devote our energy and focus to educating your sons and celebrating their achievements. Even though you can’t participate in campus life in the same ways as before, we will find ways to share the important moments of this school year with you.
I hope that everyone has a restful Labor Day weekend. Thank you for being a part of this community and for your support as we continue to adapt our programming to meet the needs of our students and families.
Mike Nickolai '03
Assistant Head of School for Human and Spiritual Formation