Tuesday, September 24, 2019

More Random Thoughts and Musings

After roughly a month of school, let me share some early thoughts and reasons for celebration. First of all, the new entrance and fence is a tremendous improvement in the appearance of our campus. Thanks to an amazingly generous, anonymous donor, the new gates, fence and sign are all being paid for without any cost to the school. To my eye, the new fence ties in perfectly with the new bronze-colored window treatments that the 50th Anniversary Campaign funded. I really do think that Gaston Day School looks better than I can remember in all my time here. Don't you agree?

In a similar vein, my new office is so attractive, comfortable and inviting. I love it! It allows me to meet with families in a much more pleasant, professional environment. It allows me to host meetings of up to ten people in my office around my new conference table. And the space is so inviting and impressive to individuals who come to Gaston Day for the first time. Just yesterday, two University of Virginia representatives came to campus to meet with me and give me an update on my alma mater. Without prompting, both of them commented on how beautiful and attractive my office is. I told them that their timing was perfect: if they had come to visit me last spring, they would have been crammed into my old office! I could not help but conclude that they were more impressed with Gaston Day because of my attractive new space.

Both the UVA reps were recent university graduates, and both previously graduated from prestigious independent schools--one in Virginia and the other in Florida. As a part of our conversation, I mentioned our recent "Number 8" ranking among North Carolina independent schools by Niche. One of the UVa reps responded that our ranking was especially remarkable because North Carolina has so many strong independent schools, and then she singled our Ravenscroft School in Raleigh as an example. I was proud to tell her that Ravenscroft was ranked only one spot ahead of Gaston Day School in the Niche report. I believe the UVA duo left our campus impressed with Gaston Day, and they should be!!

The start of school has been smooth as all our new students and teachers are integrating themselves into our school culture. There are more than 100 new students this year, and so I am busy learning all the new names. My method is this. Rebekah Bing has gotten me pictures of all the new students from Pre School to 12th Grade, and I am studying the new faces and connecting their names. Please be patient with me as I work to know everyone's name. I think it is important.

We are so excited that our total enrollment is over 500 students again, and with 511 students, we are very close to the largest enrollment in all my years here. Hopefully, we will reach the 515 number some time this year and achieve that status as largest ever.

I have been to varsity golf, tennis, soccer and volleyball matches, and middle school and junior varsity soccer and volleyball games. All of our teams are strong and several will compete for state honors, I believe. The girls varsity volleyball was victorious over previously unbeaten Davidson Day School night before last, and it was a thrilling match. Those two volleyball programs are arguably the two best in state among 2A independent schools. So at least for the moment, we may lay claim to being the best  2A girls independent school volleyball team in North Carolina. If you haven't been to one of our varsity girls volleyball games, you are missing one of the most exciting, action-packed sporting events imaginable. Our girls are skillful and fierce! How in the world they hit the ball so hard and are able to return the high-velocity spikes from the other team is something to behold. I encourage you to attend any Gaston Day sporting event.

That's enough for now. What a great school we have the privilege of being a part of! Go Spartans!!