Dear Baylor Family,
As I sat down to write this column, my last as headmaster, my mind was flooded with thoughts I might share in this space. But my heart kept dragging me back to one overriding emotion: gratitude for all that is Baylor.
Certainly, the 2020-21 school year has been unlike any other in my career. Conducting school during a pandemic has been an exercise in anxiety, ingenuity, teamwork, frustration, fear, discovery, faith, hard work, and ultimately, of gratitude. That we navigated the first semester on campus effectively reflects the extraordinary efforts of so many of my colleagues, as well as trustees who have given us the support and bandwidth to aspire to uncommon success. Of course, the “uncommon” and historic achievements of Drs. Elizabeth Forrester and Dawn Richards and the creation of the Baylor Esoteric and Molecular Lab have literally garnered local, state-wide, and national recognition. Yet, such success seems almost routine at Baylor.
Consider the following…
- Six Baylor students qualified as National Merit Semifinalists and 10 others were named Commended Students in the National Merit Scholarship Program.
- This year has witnessed the Baylor swim program being named the “Team of the Decade” by Swimming World magazine.
- The boys and girls golf teams each won their record nineteenth state championships.
- Despite unprecedented obstacles due to COVID-19 protocols, our fine arts department has managed “socially distanced” performances in theater and dance; and the choir, band and orchestra continue to perfect their craft while preparing for virtual performances (see related story on p. 15).
My position as headmaster has allowed me to experience the breadth of programs and trips that make Baylor unique, and those experiences have made me a better person. I have loved being a member of Round Table. The act of reading great literary works and discussing them with our best and brightest students harkens to the core of our academic mission. Traveling with students on Harris-Stanford, Abshire, and Jamaica trips has enriched my life immeasurably. Perhaps my favorite of all co-curricular activities is the annual Senior Trip. Participating in that experience with our graduating seniors has given me memories I will long cherish.
Mostly, I will miss day-to-day life on campus. I will miss our profound sense of family, in good times and bad. I will miss watching our amazing faculty practice their craft with such expertise and devotion to their students. I will miss watching our students perform and compete. From the stage to the pool, cheering for our students has been an exhilarating privilege. I will miss witnessing the embrace of Baylor’s culture by our students…a culture of faith, excellence, honor, and magnanimitas. I will miss “feeling the Baylor love” from students, faculty-staff members, parents, and alumni.
During Thanksgiving Break, we had the honor of hosting a memorial service for John Harrison ’84. That his family, native Atlantans, wanted his service to be here reveals just how important Baylor was in John’s life. That so many of us, regardless of generation, feel the same depth of love for our “prep school” is a rare gift indeed. So, I will retire as headmaster in June having been truly blessed. From the very bottom of my heart, I say, “Thank you and...GO BIG RED!!”