Dear KES Family:
The Admissions Office has been very busy and, as a result, I have had the pleasure of interviewing over a dozen excited (and nervous) teenagers this week. With the exception of one, all would be terrific additions to KES next year. Each interview takes on a life of its own and goes in different directions, but one of the questions I ask is whether there is anything about coming to KES that worries or scares them.
The consistent answer to this question is making friends, of being liked, of being accepted within our community. That “what if no one likes me” fear is very real. The thought of being alone, or being lonely, is scary. I don’t think it matters what stage of life one is in, I don’t think there is anything more challenging than that feeling of being isolated and separate. Belinda and I recently watched the film “Our Souls at Night” starring Jane Fonda and Robert Redford. Their characters live across the street from each other and each is living alone after having lost their spouse many years before. The film starts with Fonda asking Redford if he would consider coming over at night to sleep with her. Not for “that” she says, but for company, so that she can sleep. “The nights are the worst,” she asks, “Don’t you think?” Eventually he says yes and they become close friends.
One cannot guarantee that every student will find a best friend at KES, but I am confident that our School community is sensitive and thoughtful enough that no one ever eats alone in the Dining Hall or feels excluded from School activities. Empathy is highly valued in our School culture. It is really important to all of us that people are treated with dignity and respect, and that everyone feels valued and welcome.
One of the unique aspects of KES is our good fortune to have a School Reverend. Especially at Christmas time, Reverend Curry is masterful at demonstrating that we are not alone. As he explained the story of Mary and the symbolism of the Advent Wreath in Chapel this week, I could not help but draw comfort from his words. It is Reverend Curry’s way that even if one has deep questions and is undecided about one’s faith, everyone is invited to participate in our services together.
As December is upon us and our whole-School Carol Services this weekend beckon, I cannot help but contemplate how fortunate we are to be part of a community that is so inclusive and thoughtful, does so much together, and envisions a world that is not empty, alone, and godless.