On Thursday evening, April 13th, over fifty current and former trustees and their spouses, two former Heads of School, and a large contingent of the School's Administrative Team gathered in the Park School Library to hear news of the School, meet the new generation of Park leadership, and reconnect with old friends. Head of School, Cynthia A. Harmon, kicked off the evening with her remarks aptly titled "Traditions, Transitions, Trials, and Transformation. " After wishing Headmaster Emeritus, Bob Hurlbut, a happy belated 80th birthday and recognizing the passing of Caroline Hoppin, former director of admission and trustee, Cynthia took a moment to reflect on some of the challenges and highlights of this year so far including the death of beloved faculty member and the ongoing Department of Justice inquiry into an alleged violation of Title III of the America Disabilities Act. On a more cheerful note, she shared the following highlights:
- This is Park's first year with Grade VIII students as "seniors" and they're showing great leadership and eating lots of M&M's and Skittles when they stop in for visits with her!
- In this first year with 62 Grade VIII students in the secondary school process, 56 applied to independent schools and the remaining 6 will be attending exceptional exam or public high schools. Our three new secondary school counselors have done an amazing job - 100% of the students who applied to an independent school were admitted to one school and 84% of these students were admitted to more than one!
- Admissions remains strong, and we are very excited about the new families whom we will welcome in the fall of 2017.
- Thanks to a generous and anonymous current parent donor, an Outdoor Learning Garden is being created on the Faulkner land, which we were able to purchase due to the success of the Park21 fundraising effort. The Outdoor Learning Garden will include a small greenhouse, outdoor classroom, wildflower meadow, specialized gardens, raised beds for vegetables which will be incorporated into our lunch menu, and milk crate planters that will model how gardening can be accomplished in city environments.
- Finally, a fantastic Strategic Plan is about to be voted on by the Board, along with a new Campus Master Plan that the Buildings and Grounds Committee is working on now. More to come on both of these items after the Board vote on April 25th.
After completing her remarks, Cynthia introduced outgoing Board Chair, Vinny Chiang, who reflected on his experience as Board Chair and led us all in a toast to Park and those who have given so generously of their time, talent, and resources to make this community as strong as it is today.
This annual gathering of loyal friends and leaders never fails to remind us how grateful we are to all of you for your continuing support of Park. We hope that you enjoy the photos from this evening and if you weren't able to join us this year, we hope to see you next time!