We enter this new academic year with excitement and promise. As students and parents have arrived, our campus is again pulsating with possibilities for a brighter future, both for us as an institution and especially for the young scholars who grace our campus grounds. I am excited that again this year we have students from as near as Mendenhall, Mississippi, and from as far away as Anchorage, Alaska. Internationally, students have already arrived from Addis Ababa, but more are scheduled to join us in the coming days. Our students are not only expanding in number, but are getting younger as well. For the first time in nearly 20 years, we again welcomed students beginning at age 13 to join us for the academic year. As such, the new year represents new beginnings for us in both people and programs.
Of the many activities that make up our work, one of my favorite things to do is teach. I love teaching because of the joy that comes from watching students explore and navigate their current and developing knowledge simultaneously with their current and developing thinking. We have some exciting matters unfolding in our core academic work this year, particularly our renewed and expanding focus upon project-based learning. The phenomenon of helping students experience learning through real-world projects is taking root throughout our team. Just a few days ago, I was delighted to happen upon faculty members discussing cross-curricular learning opportunities for student field work. As we face the year ahead, our task is to envelop our students with the same passion and focus for learning throughout the campus, in all ways and all places.
The effort of educating our students and building the learning community from which they will most benefit is an effort we have never done in isolation. As we initiate a new season of excitement for our students’ classes, teaching, and learning, we are especially grateful and appreciative of the support we have received from our donor community. During a recent conversation with a supporter from New York, I discovered that the supporter had never visited our campus and asked him how he came to know of our school, our work. He shared that when he was a student at Amherst College over 40 years ago, there were students from here who told him about Piney Woods and he simply never forgot it. Such is the impact our students can have. The work in which all of us (families, faculty, community, supporters) have engaged will raise yet another generation of young scholars who I am confident can embody the true character of Piney Woods in such a way that those whom they encounter will never forget.
Welcome to a new and prosperous time in the life of The Piney Woods School! Let’s make a mark that will change the world, one student at a time--a mark the world shall never forget!