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Upper School Director's Notes

Dear Upper School Families,

Happy May! Whereas good weather does not solve all problems, it does give cause to celebrate the promise of renewal and rejuvenation during this Easter Season. I hope that you got some good time outside this weekend, whether it be a walk around the block or planting flowers in the backyard.

Anna Barter and Grandmother

This week is particularly important to me as I celebrate my Grandmother's, Eileen Opatz Berger, 94th birthday. A proud graduate of an all-women's college, the College of St. Benedict, my Gram continues to teach me how to live with courage, humor and grace. One day, as I was standing in her kitchen, I noticed a notebook. In it, my Gram had written things for which she is grateful -- "The smell of coffee. Light that comes through the window. Going to the grocery store and wondering, 'What should I eat today?' Libraries. Heat in the winter." Her list went on and on. In asking my Gram about the notebooks, she told me that she had challenged herself to list 1000 things for which she is grateful. On that day and on so many others, my grandmother reminds me of the importance of gratitude. Even now, amidst this time of social distancing, she discovers meaningful ways to fill her days. This past month, she has started to take walks around the block with an old iPhone so that she can send snapshots of Arizona's blooming flora to her thirteen grandchildren. As she tells me often, "Be good. Be useful. Think the best. Don't forget where your blessings come from. Thank God every day."

I hope that many of our students are able to connect with grandparents and loved ones, whether it be via FaceTime, phone call, or a good old-fashioned letter. Grandparents Day is one of my favorite days of the school year, and I am glad that we were able to join together for a virtual Mass last Friday to celebrate the special relationship between grandparents and grandchildren. If you did not get the chance to attend the Mass, I invite you to view the recording.

As I look ahead, I am excited to offer the community an opportunity to join the Upper School in honoring our students at the Co-Curricular Awards on May 12 and the Academic Awards on May 19. We will livestream these events and send families a link in a future communication. Wendy Short-Hays and Elliott Hays have offered to serve as our emcees, and I know that they will bring a liveliness and fun to these much-anticipated events.

I am also eager to connect with parents and families at our upcoming Upper School Virtual Town Hall on Tuesday, May 5 at 7 p.m. This event, open to the entire school community, will provide an opportunity for Head of School, Rene Gavic, and I to field questions about any and all topics related to the end of the school year. Please see last week's Director Notes for a sampling of topics. If you would like to submit questions and/or concerns ahead of time, please fill out this short form. You can join the meeting here.

Please reach out to me if I can be of help in the interim now or moving forward. And please know that as I make my own list of 1000 things for which to be grateful, it includes Visitation and all of you.


Anna Bachman Barter, PhD
Director of Upper School