As you all know, the theme of the year at Hewitt is presence. On the first day of school, we participated in a brief, all-school breathing meditation. Sometimes we get so busy that we forget to take a deep breath, which can be incredibly restorative and bring us back to center when we find ourselves distracted or off-balance during our fast-paced, busy days. As I gently strike this meditation bowl, let us together tune into the sound and take one deep breath together, one moment when together we fill our lungs to their fullest and, after pausing for a second or two, breathe out, as one school—together, present.
I was delighted to learn that the theme of this year’s winter concerts was inspired by the Bruno Mars song, “Count on Me.” It is a beautiful song that reminds us what is really important: being there for others, which means being there for ourselves as well.
Because in order to be someone others can count on, we need to be present—not just physically, but emotionally as well. To be there for someone, we need to slow down and pay attention to others’ emotions. How are they doing? How are they feeling? We also need to slow down and tune in to our own emotions. How are we doing? How are we feeling? Only then can an authentic and kind exchange, grounded in dignity and mutual respect, occur. Only then can we really learn from one another in ways that challenge, inspire, and transform us. And that is what we are here at Hewitt to do.
In his song, Bruno Mars encourages us to “Find out what we're made of / When we are called to help our friends in need / You can count on me like one two three / I'll be there.”
When people ask me what makes Hewitt so special, I often point to our long-held community value of being there for one another. This cultural value is deep in the school’s very roots and soil. Our founder Caroline Hewitt said, “It is the touch of life upon life that matters most in a school.” Almost 100 years later, though there is much that our founder would not recognize, Caroline Hewitt’s central vision lives on in a way that would make her proud. At Hewitt, we show up for each other in caring and compassionate ways so that we can be the kind of people others can count on.
Recently, the seniors and I spent an afternoon learning about the mutually empowering act of affirming what is best in others and ourselves. Students, faculty, and staff: when I witness your daily acts of courage, empathy, hard work, and presence, you inspire me to be there for you. In closing, I am grateful that I can count on you. And I want you all to know that you can count on me.
Have a peaceful and joyous winter break!
Dr. Kinsey delivered these remarks at Hewitt's 2018 winter concerts.