By: Jessica Raba ’98, Assistant Head of School | Principal
The first day of school has always been marked, for me, by a particular smell. It seems that regardless of the temperature or the particulars of the weather that day there is a crispness to the air. In fact, my Facebook memories last week showed the first day of kindergarten for my now 5th grader. In one photo, she is boarding her school bus, and my mom commented, “I can still remember the smell of the bus on my first day of K”. 5 years ago, my mom would have been 65 – that’s some sensory memory right there!
Last week, I walked around the building to help spruce up some bulletin boards in the hallways and common spaces. In preparation, I found a banner, in LuHi school colors, bearing the words “Welcome Home”. I immediately put it in my online shopping cart, and it arrived a few days later. It has now been placed in a location of prominence in our commons. As students proceed to lunch each day, they’ll walk past this banner, and my prayer is that it resonates with each student, whether it’s automatic or takes a bit of time.
You see, I realize that our students are coming from a variety of different past experiences. Whether they join us for the first time or for the start of their 7th year at LuHi (Hi, seniors who started here in 6th grade!), whether they join us from Long Island, Queens, another state or country, the team at LuHi wants this place to provide an atmosphere of home.
What does this mean? I’m a fan of acronyms, so read on for what I believe LuHi’s version of HOME to be.
H – Helpful
As we welcomed new students to LuHi last week, and new faculty and staff members over the summer, the constant refrain is to ask for help. As a school with the core values of Christian Love and Community, we want everyone here to know that they are never alone, and that support is there. From feeling comfortable to ask questions to keeping an eye out for others, LuHi students, faculty, and staff are helpful.
O – Optimistic
At LuHi, we believe that each of us is formed in the image of God and has God-given talents and gifts. To that end, we believe in each person here. We believe that growth is possible, and that we can each push ourselves to be better. Our core value of Excellence illuminates this. It’s important to note that LuHi does not expect perfection, but rather a focus on continuous improvement and reaching for the next step. Essentially, we believe each member of our community is capable of great things, and we’re here to pour into everyone as they reach for excellence.
M – Memorable
When I think of those places I have called home, be they personal or professional, I am flooded with memories. LuHi is more than a building, it is the people here. As we all gather in community, we are making memories – snapshots in our minds that will come back long into the future as we think back on this place.
E – Engaged
The energy of LuHi is different from any other school or organization I’ve worked at in the past. While it’s hard to describe, I think that it’s most palpable when I’m around a group of people from this place. Our students, faculty, and staff are some of the most engaged and engaging people I have ever worked with. Our core value of Family implores us to connect, listen, respond, and respect one another, and this is true, whether we are in a moment of agreement or disagreement. As in any family, there will be times that we see eye to eye, and times when we may disagree. However, LuHi, as an engaged group of individuals connected through shared values seeks to engage with intention at all times!
So, home. My fervent prayer is that everyone, returning, new, multi-generation LuHi community members, feel a sense of belonging and connection. We are so excited for this new school year!