On Monday, I spoke to the faculty and students in grades 6-12 about the School’s Mission and Core Values in the context of some of the recent executive orders issued by President Trump. Many students have been confused about the executive order regarding immigration and some worried about what this may mean for their extended family members and other members of the Brimmer community.
Throughout its history, Brimmer has had an unwavering commitment to inclusion and diversity and the Board of Trustees and administration strongly believe that we all benefit from being part of a diverse and inclusive community. Among other topics discussed, I shared stories of when the School accepted refugees from an area in the world suffering from war and genocide. Current students learned about the children of a family who came to our country looking for a new beginning. They found a community at Brimmer where they were educated, loved, and supported. Today, as alumni, the members of that family give back to our School in many ways and make it possible for our current students to have the same strong education they received. We continue to benefit from students attending our School who are from various places in our world; they are enriching the community with their presence and different perspectives.
Our Mission states, “We develop lifelong learners who are informed, engaged, and ethical citizens and leaders in our diverse world.” I asked the students to think about how they might stay informed, be engaged in their education, and learn about people around the world so they will be prepared to be good citizens and leaders. As we strive each day to realize our mission, we proudly continue our belief that we all benefit from being part of a diverse population.
Lastly, we discussed the importance of upholding our Core Values, especially to be engaged actively and to be upstanding people. I stressed how each day we must strive to show kindness and be respectful, honest, and responsible community members. I encouraged them to support one another, to think about their behavior as they engage in conversation with others, and to discuss ideas with their teachers. I ended by referring to my Thanksgiving remarks using the words of Greek Philosopher Socrates who said, “Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people.”
As you might imagine, talking to a large group of students, some as young as 11 and others as old as 18, can be difficult. I would encourage you to discuss these topics with your own student in a manner you feel is appropriate. I hope by sharing the conversation I had with the Middle and Upper School students, we might together engage our young people in a conversation about the ideas that underpin our democracy as well as the principles on which their School is based.