The recent single-digit temperatures and mix of sleet and snow signal that the crisp days of fall are gone. Despite the best efforts of our athletic teams
to extend the fall season, we’ve traded soccer cleats and football helmets for downhill skis
and hockey sticks. We’ve even transitioned the hustle of daily life to our winter schedule in an effort to improve student sleep habits and take full advantage of wintry bluebird days. At a time when the surrounding environment is preparing for a period of dormancy, Holderness School is meeting this change in season with a smile and sense of energy -- this community blooms in winter.
It’s no surprise, then, that the new math and science building
would begin to take shape at this time. After nearly six months of site work -- a second entrance, early phases of a perimeter road, slope stabilization, and even some late-summer controlled explosions -- we can now see the building come to life.
We’ve poured more than one million pounds of foundation to literally cement our commitment to teaching and learning
at Holderness School. This academic facility is a testament to how we believe learning should be: an experience bound by innovation, collaboration, and flexibility. The 35,000-square-foot space will nearly double our academic footprint, supporting Holderness School’s ability to deliver an unparalleled education.
And while a physical foundation takes form, we must remind ourselves that Holderness School has been building foundations since 1879.
As our mission statement calls us to foster equally in each student the resources of the mind, body, and spirit, we seek to build foundations that will last a lifetime.
The entirety of the Holderness experience is foundational. We invest time and energy into the Job Program
and Leadership Program
because we know that fairness, initiative, dependability, and empathy are characteristics needed in a world growing more polarized by the day. We look each other in the eye and greet each other on the path because we believe in the importance of creating a caring community. We have programs like Out Back
, Artward Bound
, and Project Outreach
because we believe in healthy risk-taking, developing resilience, and living outside of our comfort zone. We maintain our unique multiple sport athletic
philosophy because we believe in balancing competitive excellence with an understanding of physical and emotional well-being. We offer breadth and depth in our academic program because we believe that every student’s learning journey is unique.
Take Senior Thesis, for example. This culminating intellectual program is the cornerstone of Holderness learning. Just this past week, I had the opportunity to join a Senior Thesis
class for their Research Review, a brief oral defense of their preliminary Senior Thesis research. Topics ranged from the meaning of dreams and perspectives on teen pregnancy to shifting concussion protocols and the future of cryptocurrency. Some seniors were nervous, some spoke a little too fast or were a little too fidgety, but they were universally engaged and passionate about their topic. They had spent the last ten weeks asking questions, digging into research, and reaching out to experts. Although we don’t expect our students to be experts in their particular topic, we do expect them to develop the skills of a researcher, interviewer, and presenter. We expect them to be curious, excited, and active in their learning. We expect them to grow beyond this experience.
This new academic facility
is projected to be completed in Winter 2021. A winter opening might strike you as odd, but, at Holderness, it’s only natural that the new academic heart of campus will begin to beat during such a season of joy and vitality. And at that grand opening, people will no doubt be in awe over the thoughtfully planned learning spaces or the expansive views of Stinson Mountain. They should; we spent years planning out every detail of the space. But, I would hope, just for a moment, that they look to the foundation and honor the humble concrete walls that support this building. Just like the foundation of our academic facility, we are committed to helping our students build strong and resilient foundations. The Holderness experience affords the time and space to set such a deep and broad foundation. We don’t know what the future holds, but we do know that a foundation forged by Proctor Day bonfires, hardened by epic winters, and set in the classrooms, mountains, and lakes of New Hampshire supports a life well lived.