A Letter from the VCMS Principal – April 2021

Dear VCMS Families,

I was blessed to spend one day this past Easter weekend at the coast. It is a rare treat to be able to walk on the beach with the sun shining (even if I was still wearing a winter coat), feet in the cold water, and smell the salty air with just a touch of beach-fire. I was in a particularly reflective mood as I was thinking about the students coming back to school full-time, the extra strains that have been placed on the teachers – and yet the excitement that overpowers the anxiety for most of those returning back to campus.

While I was lost in these thoughts, I was also cognizant of the many blessings God has bestowed upon our school and for me personally. I have had so many people in my life help me develop into the adult I am today, and it was this awareness that made me reflect on the great gift of those who work on our VCS/SSMO campus.

I recently had the opportunity to fulfill the #1 item on my bucket list, something I have wanted to accomplish since I was a sophomore in college (33 years ago for those counting), and it was the completion of that dream that led me to really think deeply about the lasting impact we are leaving on our students. Thoughts like: How are they connecting with one another? Is doing so via a screen actually working? Will these students have the same warmth for their teachers in years to come? What will their memories be and how will that impact the world they create?

I have to tell you, now more than a year since school life was disrupted due to COVID, our kids will be OK. I truly believe God is walking with them and using this time to help provide them with skills they will need in the future. I am seeing a return to simpler times, a time where the students are highly valuing just being with one other. Gone are the days of sitting two feet from someone but “talking” via text instead of looking at each other. Hopefully this change will last. How many of you recall saying “put the screen down” or “Look at ______ when they are speaking” only to have the person revert back into their screen communication? Isn’t this change nice?

Another thing I have noticed is a shift in how students spend their free time, and a growing sense of personal identity. In a time of life, specifically middle school, when it is the norm to want to “be like others,” students are returning to school with strong and unique interests that are adding richness to the class. While this, in and of itself, is not unique, the number of variations is. Let’s face it, we all like participating in activities with friends and may often choose an activity primarily to be with friends. Once the ability to choose based solely on personal interest is provided – wow – it’s breathtaking hearing about the students’ new or deeper passions.

As much as I still find myself longing for the familiarity of the past, I am starting to see silver linings at unexpected times. I hope you are also finding these silver linings and that as time goes on, we recognize the places where God has made himself visible. These places will look different for each of us, but there is no doubt He is here. The Easter season reminds us to keep our eyes and hearts open.

Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your children’s lives. We appreciate the opportunity to help them develop into adulthood, and recognize what a key role this brief time in middle school will have in defining who they will become. We are grateful to be on this journey with you. Happy Easter!

Jen Gfroerer