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Head's Corner, April 8, 2015
Greetings CMS Families,
I hope that you enjoyed the long weekend. Happy Holiday if you celebrated Easter or Passover. Our family celebrated Easter and it was a truly lovely weekend. The older I get, the more I realize that young people and senior citizens are very similar and that I have a tremendous amount of respect for both groups. They are brutally honest and so unassuming. Last week I had the privilege of observing seniors in two different settings. I visited a nursing home where my dad has been a resident since he suffered a massive stroke four years ago. I also spent two wonderful nights observing the 6th years (or Seniors) present their Senior Projects in the "standing room only" gym. Both experiences filled my heart with joy. As I reflect on my observations, I can't stop smiling about the sophisticated projects that our students presented and have been giggling about the impromptu presentation I received from a group of seniors who could give Bill Maher and Bill O'Reilly a run for ratings.
Although this is my fourth year at CMS, I am always impressed by the Senior Projects. When I walked into the gym last Wednesday and Thursday nights, the environment was calm, students were prepared and families sat with sheer pride and joy as they watched their young scholars in action. It was as if I walked into a dissertation defense. Our Sixth Years were dressed well, had on their game faces and stood boldly and confidently at the podium. Among their peers, teachers, families and friends, they demonstrated the skills and confidence they acquired while researching topics such as Autism, D-Day, Ancient Roman Architecture, The Battle of Midway, Shark Bay Dolphins, Great Leaders and Temple Grandin. The audience was captivated by all of the presentations. We watched Joe play a classical piece composed by his topic Nicolo Paganini, heard Leore's passionate presentation including a voicemail from Temple Grandin herself, and learned from Max's valuable information about Ebola. Alek wrapped up the presentations with a heartfelt plea to help save the Sea Turtles and shared his website to raise awareness and funds for the endangered species. The students celebrated afterwards by giving each other high-fives, horsing around in the gym and hallways with their peers and taking photos with their families. There was laughter and cheer throughout the school. I learned a lot from our students. They were prepared, witty, and capable of producing stellar work. They spoke from the heart with humor and wisdom.
I experienced the same joy just a few days prior while visiting my dad at a Jewish Rehabilitation Facility. Since my parents have been married for 56 years, my mom has established great friendships with some of the residents. She has a circle of friends that I call the Golden Girls. She sits with them almost every night immediately following dinner for a round table discussion. At 92, Pearl is the oldest of the group and sharp as a tack. She, like my dad, was in the Navy and had a very successful career. Phyllis is a very attractive octogenarian. She is a stylish woman who should have been in Hollywood. She reminds me of a combination of Katharine Hepburn, Lauren Bacall, and Sophia Loren. Then there's Ana who carries a sense of humor and her purse wherever she goes. Two other ladies are a part of the group as well. They are less vocal but chime in right on time in between their catnaps and temporary loss of attention. In one hour I observed the most fascinating discussion that began with that three-letter word that starts with and "s" and ends with an "x", great literature, politics, religion, family and death. I learned about what is was like for women in the military in the early 20th century, the pain of losing an adult child, the value of a loving family or lack thereof, and the role that each person plays in their destiny. Each of the women contributed something profound to the discussion. Suddenly I saw beyond the aging life lines on their faces, or brief lapses of memory, or simply their wheelchairs. When it was time for me to leave, Pearl shared that laughter and the power of positive attitudes have kept her alive and well. She constantly reminds the group to live each day with purpose and always tell the truth even if it hurts. Oddly enough, I think that group has kept my mom alive and well, just as I feel the students at CMS do for me. It was truly my pleasure to be a part of the circle at the nursing facility and in the CMS gym. Both groups of seniors gave me the inoculation I needed to complete my day, actually my week and beyond. I wish a similar experience for you. Have a phenomenal week!