A dozen seventh graders had a lunchtime Skype meeting with Dr. Noni Thomas López today.
Next year will be her first year at Gordon.
It will be their last.
Today, the students and the incoming Head of School compared notes, as they prepared to pass the baton.
The students' first question? "What do you know about Gordon?"
Dr. Thomas López's answer was a little surprising.
She talked about Gordon's national reputation. They did not not know Gordon has a national reputation.
She talked about how Gordon has a smart, authentic, long-standing commitment to education as a tool for social change. These students do not quite understand how special Gordon is in that respect.
And, she talked about how Gordon is warm and welcoming. They recognized that.
The student's second question? "Do you want to know our names, and some of the things we love about Gordon?"
Then it was the adults' turn to be surprised, by the range of what the students wanted her to know about Gordon:
I love the arts and music.
I love how it is easy to feel comfortable, and be yourself.
I love that you get your own laptop.
It's small enough that you get to know everybody.
The playgrounds, and the outdoors, are wonderful. Twelve acre campus.
The teachers support you.
The inclusiveness and diversity mean that everybody's point of view is included.
My favorite day is Carnival. And Field Day. Those are my favorite days. And the diversity. I like the diversity.
The architecture changes as you grow up and move through the building.
In Kindergarten, you hatch little chicks and raise them.
You interact with everybody, every year, people that are older than you and people that are younger than you.
The conversation flowed from there, touching on respectful debate, the seventh grade novels, the importance of balance, and the role of Latin in a middle school language curriculum.
The students were thrilled to have the new Head of School's undivided attention for a half hour, and to be talking about something they knew so well.
Gordon is a special place, special in ways that sometimes can be hard to notice when you're been here every day.
They listened carefully as Dr. Thomas López played back what she was hearing from them.
It's going to be a exciting to see this place through Dr. Thomas López's eyes next year.
Dr. Thomas López's letter to the Gordon community, October 2017