The last time we were all gathered here it was graduation, and we were saying goodbye. Today, we are here to say welcome to the new members of our community. Let’s start with our youngest new students – welcome to our kindergarteners, the MTS Class of 2027. We also have a number of new students in grades 1-8. If you are new, please give a brief wave, and then we will all clap to welcome you. Finally, we also have new adult members of the MTS community. Anastassia Redeva, Lower School STEM and 1st grade homeroom. Lilianna Parker, music teacher and 5th grade homeroom. Liz Hayman: School Counselor.
I had a lot of fun this summer. As I looked through my summer photos I picked out a few that I want to share with you.
Over Father’s Day, my friend, Will, and I took our children camping at the Steep Ravine Cabins.
What I remember most about the experience was how we cooked 'smores over an open fire. How we explored the beach at low tide and added to a great driftwood fort. And how Will and I had a phenomenal grilled steak dinner overlooking the ocean once the kids were asleep.
I also did quite a bit of mountain biking. Here I am dropping off a wild ramp up in Whistler on a trail called “A River Runs Through It.” And here I am riding the Flume Trail above Lake Tahoe.
What I remember most about those two rides is how great they were. I remember how I rode up to the ramp on A River Runs Through It, backed down, tried again and finally had the courage to ride it.
I remember how I rode the Flume Trail with my friend Rob. Rob had been my camper at summer camp when he was 8 and I was 18. I remember how fun it was to ride with him, 20 years later, two friends. I also remember how Rob and I had so much fun that we turned around and rode the trail two more times that day, doing more than 25 miles of riding.
Here I am in Colorado having just been crowned the winner of the dude-ranch-wide "Simon Says" championship. What I loved about this was not so much the win and the resulting fuzzy dice that I was given to hang from my rear view mirror, but rather how I won. From ages 8-22 I spent my summers at a camp in Maine, and we played a lot of Simon Says. My Simon Says championship brought back memories of camp and has already become a bit of a family legend as the person I beat in the finals was... my mother!
While this is one of the prettiest photos of my summer, it is not really the dive that I enjoyed. What I enjoyed most was how I made the photo. This summer, we traveled with a blow-up stand up paddleboard. On our hikes, I would carry this 30 pound boat and paddle up to some gorgeous lake. Once there, I would blow it up, and we would paddle around this lake.
At this particular lake I spotted a log just barely sticking up above the surface. To get these diving photos we would paddle out, leave one person on the log, paddle away, and then take the photo.
Yes, the dive was fun. Making the photo was even more fun.
The last fun thing I did, just this past Saturday, was build a teeter-totter for our bikes. Here is my wife, Robin, riding it. Teetering and tottering on a bike is fun.
Again, though, what I enjoyed most and will remember the most is how we made it. Over breakfast I sketched the teeter-totter and made a materials list. Huck and Harrison (my two children) and I then headed to the Stafford Lake Bike Park to inspect their teeter-totter. We then spent a good hour in Home Depot selecting all of the materials, new drill bits, and a new saw. We then worked from lunch until dinner building the teeter-totter.
Far more than teetering and tottering, I loved measuring each piece with Huck and Harrison and having them hold pieces in place as I screwed them down. It was the process of making the teeter totter that was most exciting. I loved how we made it, more than what we made.
Throughout the year this year, we will return to this phase and talk about process, about how. In particular, we are going to look at four words, four values in our mission statement and think about how we can live those values.
- Kindness. How can we show kindness? Last year we aimed to “Build with Kindness." We will continue to do this again focusing on HOW we show kindness.
- Integrity. How do we act with integrity? How do we do the right thing? How do we do the right thing when no one is looking?
Respect. How do we show respect? How do we earn respect?
Self-Reliance. How can we learn to draw upon our own strengths and talents when facing a challenge? How can we look to others to support us most effectively?
The how is interesting. The how is where learning happens. The how is where friendships are made. How matters.
Now if the first day of school is feeling a little overwhelming, if thinking about big words like integrity and self-reliance is a bit daunting, I have one more message for you. Don’t worry about a thing.
You know, there is a song with these words. I think it goes something like this.