March 8, 2012

The Polly T. Donald Enrichment Fund award recipients announced

Award recipients Tricia Callahan & Meg Hansen
If you know anything about Friends’ School (and I believe you do), you know that one of our core tenets is that we educate the whole child – head, hand and heart.

But what does educating the whole child mean exactly? It means that we recognize that each child is unique. It means we seek to provide a dynamic, challenging learning environment in which children can develop to their full potential – socially, emotionally, creatively, cognitively, physically, and spiritually.  It means each child deserves to be healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged.

And, if you take a careful look at our mission statement, you will notice that “we challenge students and teachers to reach their full potential as engaged, lifelong learners.”

Students and teachers. Grown-ups, as well as children.  The adults deserve to be healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged as well.

My predecessor, Polly Donald, Friends’ head of school for seventeen years, believed this more than anyone.  In 2009, when Polly announced her retirement, there was a strong desire to create something significant in her honor. 

Based on Polly’s belief that an individual’s personal growth inevitably enriches those with whom he or she comes into contact, the school created the Polly T. Donald Enrichment Fund.  The Fund aims to revitalize, inspire and support the personal growth of Friends’ faculty and staff.  Polly’s thinking is that, by being revitalized and inspired, the teacher or staff member will, in turn, enrich the Friends’ School community at large. Among other qualifications, award recipients must demonstrate a commitment to the children, families and mission of the school.

In Polly’s final year at Friends’ many parents, alumni, staff, trustees, and friends donated over $50,000 to the Polly T. Donald Enrichment Fund.  The Board-appointed committee who solicits applications and determines awards is chaired by trustee and parent Surrie Hobart and consists of former teacher Carrie Simpson and former parent and trustee Marion Taylor.

This year Surrie, Carrie and Marion reviewed ten applications for the award and the school is excited to announce that this year’s award of $2,500 will be given to two recipients:  Meg Hansen, our Director of Communications and Tricia Callahan, our elementary Literacy Resource Teacher.  Both Meg and Tricia are long-time employees at Friends’ who demonstrate a commitment to the children, families and mission of the school on a daily basis.

Meg will be visiting several western national parks, Glacier, Yellowstone and Grand Teton, with her sons.  In her application, she wrote:

former head of school
Polly T. Donald
“I imagine ten days without computers, cell phones, video games, a website to manage, or anything electronic that would connect us back to the plugged-in, hectic life we seem to never be able to escape from these days. Back to nature, geysers, bubbling mud pools, glowing colorful Morning Glory Pool and Old Faithful, moose, deer, eagles, and …conversations, real conversations with the two most important people in my life, one  who will be off on his own wild adventures in two short years. What I need and really want at this point in my life is connection and more time with my sons where I’m not burning the candle at both ends to provide a life for them but can actually take the time to enjoy them and know even more of the incredible people they have become. They never ask me for anything, knowing I probably can’t say “yes” very often. To give this to them would be an incredible gift to all of us and would create more of the only thing that we can hold onto—memories.”

Tricia will be taking part in summer tennis lessons.  In her application, she wrote:

“When my daughter was in second grade I felt that our lives had become too busy and I just couldn’t keep up with (flute) lessons, rehearsals and performances, so I stopped playing.  Now my little girl is heading off to college and I’ll have more time on my hands.  I’d like to do something for me.”

In their communication to the entire staff, the Fund Committee commented:
“We were all inspired by your desire for continued growth and revitalization and humbled by your drive to stretch yourselves.  Be assured this fund is Polly's legacy and is here to stay.  Funds will be awarded annually so please re-apply.”

I know this was a hard decision for the committee to make because they received many wonderful and deserving applications. I am grateful to Surrie, Marion, and Carrie for their tremendous care and thought in the process, their dedication to the task, and their clear passion and love for this school and those of us who work here.

I am excited for Tricia and Meg to pursue their dreams this summer and to find the revitalization they so deserve.  Thank you to Polly, to our Board, and to everyone who donated to the Fund in Polly’s name. I’m proud to lead a school that not only educates the whole child, but also desires for our adults everything that it wants for our children.

1 comment:

Jodi said...

Congratulations, Meg! At least take a camera so we can see pictures!