The return of the red-winged blackbird, announced annually by Mr. Parlin, heralds the arrival of spring at Newark Academy. This year, as always, his morning meeting announcement and demonstration of the bird call created great excitement about warmer weather and the approaching end of the school year. It is one of many uniquely NA moments, appreciated by
generations of students. Such rituals are a marker of strong communities – from schools to houses of worship to extended family clans – and every strong community is characterized by and fosters close communal relationships. As Thomas Merton wrote, “In the end…it is the reality of personal relationships that saves everything.” Recognizing that reality in our last Strategic Plan, we highlighted the value and centrality of relationship-centered learning across constituencies: among students, faculty colleagues, administrative leaders, alumni and parents, as well as between teachers and students. In this issue of LUMEN magazine, you will read about the various ways that such connections, formed at Newark Academy, remain strong for decades after graduation.
Certain signature NA programs create friendships between students from different grades and divisions. This year’s winter musical, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, followed the tradition of including participants from every grade. The Peer Leadership program fosters bonds between seniors and freshmen as they meet regularly to process the academic and social challenges of adjusting to high school. The popular Classroom Intern Associate program (brainchild of Dan Eatroff ’13) allows seniors to serve as teaching assistants to Middle School teachers. Students of all ages forge strong connections through countless hours spent working together on athletic teams, in musical groups or in clubs. The challenging experiences of traveling on immersion trips and working in community service programs also foster lasting friendships. Finally, the many all-school morning meetings and Global Speaker assemblies throughout the year reaffirm both the value of our community and the roles that each individual can play within it.
“These activities deepen and reinforce connections not only within the community, but also to the values that Newark Academy stands for: intellectual engagement, love of learning and generosity of spirit.” – Donald M. Austin, Head of School
Within the larger Newark Academy community, alumni and parent engagement has grown significantly in recent years. The annual New York City Networking Night (May 16) and regional alumni events bring together graduates of different ages to foster professional development. Many parents in STEM fields have been instrumental in helping students to secure internships that provide research opportunities. Both parents and alumni in scientific fields have given presentations to science classes and to groups after school, and our teachers regularly lead book clubs for parents. These activities deepen and reinforce connections not only within the community but also to the values that Newark Academy stands for: intellectual engagement, love of learning and generosity of spirit.
One can point to no better example of the enduring bonds formed among Newark Academy students than the Class of 1969. The initial friendships of those boys growing up in the turbulent ’60s have only become stronger during the 50 years since they graduated; they remain loyal to one another and to the school.
Please enjoy the following articles celebrating such NA connections – and plan a visit back to campus soon!