Posted by: Julie Okoniewski on Friday, August 27, 2021 at 12:00:00 am

While two tropical storms converged on the campus this August, we welcomed a New York City Friends School soccer team into our dorms and fields and  prepared the rest of campus for the arrival of our students from around the Hudson Valley and around the globe. With close to four inches of rain in a few hours, our four-season greenhouse, located where tennis courts once stood fifty years ago, temporarily transformed into a shallow sun-filled pool. 

The sun came out. The waters subsided. The garden flexed back to life. 

As a school we are shaking off the waters as well. Reflecting back on these last 12 to 18 months, I am humbled by the focus and dedication of our faculty, students and families. I am moved by the perspectives and gratitude our graduates shared during graduation under the Copper Beech tree in June.  And I am excited to celebrate the 100th year on this Poughkeepsie campus and the successful completion and dedication of The Spencer Family Theater  this September.  

Navigating a boarding and day program during a global pandemic is not without its challenges, and yet, we continue to grow, celebrate and mark milestones. Our faculty adapts curriculum and partners with families. Our Middle School program, now including a 5th grade, nurtures the largest enrollment in over 50 years. Alumni vision and generosity expands endowment, programming, and student support. MIddle School renovations, theater technology, outdoor classroom spaces, and wetland work are but a few new areas of growth this last year. Established funds, such as the Powell Fund, continue to provide technology essential for support of remote and in-person learners during these ever-changing times.

As I look ahead to the start of this academic year, I am proud to be part of an expansive network of alumni, families, faculty, and friends. Locally, this provides opportunities for a diverse cross section of learners in the Hudson Valley. Globally, we are strengthened by our international student perspectives and recognize the strength and sacrifice it takes to travel thousands of miles from home and culture. Particularly, we hold in the Light families of our students living in regions of instability, unrest, and oppression.  

So as we lean into another year of excitement, uncertainty, and opportunity, I am looking forward to seeing you on campus (both in-person and virtually) and to sharing our student voice.   See you at the 100th year celebration, and barring another tropical storm, you can even stop by the greenhouse for a tomato or two!