I have great admiration for everyone who runs cross country, no matter where they finish in a race. It takes courage to join the team and amazing perseverance to train and compete. So I cheer just as much for the student-athlete finishing last as I do the one finishing first. This past weekend our middle school cross country team took that perspective much further as the final runner came out of the woods, headed for the finish line. Without any prompting by a coach or adult, members of the Walker Middle School Cross Country team – who had already finished the race – ran into the woods so that they could run with, encourage, and support the final contestant. It was one of the most inspirational moments I have experienced as a head of school at Walker, and a picture of meaningful relationships at its very best.
Part of the beauty of Walker is that our school size overall and small class sizes facilitate the degree to which meaningful relationships can develop. One of the key reasons parents choose Walker for their children is that they know each child is going to be valued, challenged and inspired at an exponentially different level than other schools.
Several weeks ago, a recent Walker graduate wrote the following as a way of saying “thank you” to her teachers:
“One of the wonderful attributes of Walker is the close relationships the teachers and students have. You inspired me, helped me, guided me, and of course, taught me. One of many things that are so special about the faculty at Walker is that you don’t feel your job ends with the last bell of the day. You seem to love truly what you do. You have given out cell phone numbers, stayed long after school, and even held review sessions on the weekends to answer questions and insure your students’ success. Your talents often stretch far beyond the classroom, too. We see you racing from the all-too-famous Wednesday faculty meetings to a practice or game, and others of you are getting up early to unlock your room for a morning club meeting. To Walker faculty, teaching isn’t just a job; it’s your life, and your dedication shows.”
Walker has an amazing, long-standing reputation for providing challenging academics, talented and dedicated faculty, meaningful relationships, boundless opportunities, peerless college preparation all within a community that is both nurturing and diverse. These core strengths represent the hallmark of a Walker education, and throughout this school year, I will be using this space to highlight each of these core strengths, starting with meaningful relationships.