Letter from Mr. Paul Quick,
Head of School
As I sit here in the office at the Sugar Mill Pond campus, the silence is almost deafening. There is a respite that comes at the end of every school day, the quiet allows for contemplation, but after about thirty minutes or so one misses the buzz of adolescent excitement and the life one feels when the campus is humming with activity.
In these quiet moments, I am reminded of the times in my youth when my father and I used to sail together. While my father was a retired Marine Lt. Colonel, I am certain, in this instance, that he would not mind me calling him an avid “sailor.
One of the first lessons learned was that if I ever felt I was no longer in control of the boat, I should allow the main and jib sails to luff and let go of the tiller. Counter-intuitive, indeed, but when this is done the boat will naturally point into the wind and come to rest; at that point, I was able to get my bearings and regroup.
Obviously, this maneuver needs to be done in relatively calm conditions and, fortunately, all of our sailing adventures took place far from stormy seas.
Another lesson that was taught was that I always needed a point on the horizon on which to focus when I handled the tiller. This focal point on the horizon allowed one to know whether one’s course was true or not.
After-school hours are when we as a school can allow our main and jib sails to luff and, momentarily, let go of the tiller. As our boat points up into the wind, we take time to reassess our course and begin to adjust so that when we again tighten our sails and grasp the tiller, we are headed in the direction we intend.
For us at Ascension Episcopal School, our destination on the horizon is our mission statement. Our boat is pointed in the direction of “educational excellence in a Christian environment.” While that is the focal point on our metaphorical horizon, in order to move closer to our destination, we need to tack from nurturing the spirit of our students, to sharpening their collective minds, to fostering servant leadership opportunities for each and to promoting healthy decision-making.
The winds that power our vessel are our guiding scriptures: Matthew 6:33, Galatians 6:9-10 and Ephesians 4:29-32.In addition, much like the keel of a boat, our vessel needs stability and our guiding questions provide us with the steadiness that we need. Those questions are:
How does my life fit into God’s unfolding plan?
What significant positive impact can my life have on others near and far?
Lastly, like all sailors, we must have a reason why we venture away from the comfort home in the first place. Our vision statement reminds us why we at Ascension do what we do, why we come to our specific campus each day. All of us are dedicated to creating and sustaining an environment in which we help each other identify, grow, and utilize our unique, God-given gifts and talents to build affirming relationships, to serve others, and, ultimately, to glorify God.
In the late afternoon silence, one can hear the rustling of the sails as they luff. However, each day when the lull has finally passed, rest assured that the leadership team of the school and the faculty will be ready once again to set our sails, to grasp the tiller and to resume our voyage.
Our course is set, our direction clear, the winds are on our side and our commitment is well defined. We are so very privileged to have the opportunity to staff this vessel, and we intend to keep our course true.
May the Lord bless you and keep you;
May the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace (Numbers 6:24-26)”
Head of School