The school year is off to an incredibly energized start. Our faculty returned from summer with a renewed commitment to their students, ready to greet our Class of 2022 — 72 students strong — and a total student body of 322. And the students themselves — those returning and those new to our school — are diving in to classes, athletic teams, clubs and the performing arts.

The first week of school included discussions of our summer reading, Callings: The Purpose and Passion of Work, by Dave Isay. We used this book — a collection of interviews with people from all walks of life who describe their path to finding their calling, their career, their job — as a backdrop for conversations about the definition of work, of finding meaning in that work. One of the key ideas discussed with students was broadening our definition of success. In the first page of the book, Dave Isay quotes one of my favorite poets, Mary Oliver.  Her line seems to sum up the book and our discussions about it. Oliver wrote,

“Tell me, what is your plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?

Oliver’s line and Isay’s book will be inspiring me and our school community throughout this year.

The Class of 2022 has already proven to be a diverse group committed to making their own meaning in the University High School community. From the two-day Freshman Retreat at Jameson Camp, to the election of their four representatives to our Stewardship Council, University’s student government, freshmen are not waiting in line to be heard or to “take their turn.” They are already integral members of the student community.

In athletics, freshmen are contributing greatly to all of our fall sports. On the girls soccer team, Audrey Blocksom and Sydney Epstein are stepping up for the varsity squad; Blocksom had two assists and scored a goal in our big win over Bethesda Christian. Lucca Conti has been one of the top runners on the boys cross country team in each race he’s run. On the girls golf team, Becky Williams has consistently been the team’s top scorer. She shot a 35 for nine holes last week and has led our team to a couple of big victories this season. Jillian Sager starts on the varsity volleyball team and has been an integral part of our team’s 6-2 start this season.  And eight freshmen came out for boys soccer — and they are working hard and learning what it means to a member of a Trailblazer team.

Freshmen are also already active in clubs and activities, including Academic Team, Chinese Culture Club, Riley Dance Marathon, Games Club, Black Affinity Club, Robotics Team, Poultry Pals, EcoBlazers, Science Club, French Club, Movie Club, and many more. They are starting and joining clubs and service programs in record numbers. And our fall play, an adaptation of two books, Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, has a large cast that includes 10 freshmen.

And of course, the Class of 2022 is ready to host you for your shadow visit — and I am excited for you to meet them!

Our admission office has been busy all summer — and now we are hearing from 8th grade families who are scheduling shadow visits, signing up for our autumn Prospective Parent Breakfast and Prospective Family Dinner, and marking their calendars for our first Open House of the school year on Sunday, September 30. Taylor Newell and I are looking forward to welcoming all of you for an event this fall, scheduling your shadow visit, and reading your application. Please call or email me to arrange your shadow visit so that you can spend a day with our faculty and our school community! I am excited to have you learn about University High School, but I am even more excited to learn about you.