An Open Letter to Brookwood’s Class of 2019
From the outside looking in, the trip appeared to be a disaster. Everything that could have gone wrong went wrong.
As a brief recap: waaaay back in the year 2015, this class embarked on the annual trip to Washington, D.C. Half of the students boarded one plane, and half on another. The first group arrived as planned, successfully changing planes in Atlanta. The second group — not so much. Whilst in the air, the temperature had dropped, making the weather conditions impossible to land in D.C. The plane was forced to land in Richmond, VA, and the students and chaperones were left to, well, figure it out.
The trip from the airport in Richmond to the hotel in Washington, D.C. involved hailing cabs (back then, Uber was not yet really a thing) to the train station, and then, due to the ice and snow, proceeded at the heart-stopping rate of fifteenmiles per hour toward the destination. Food was scarce and luggage was absent.
The first group discovered upon arrival at the hotel that the sewage pipes had burst due to the freezing cold, and the beautiful and recently remodeled lobby had begun to flood. The second group would would arrive somewhere around midnight to the boggy and odoriferous hotel lobby around midnight.
The trip itself proceeded as planned — minus luggage — for several days. The return home was even more exciting. Plane delays and cancellations led to war-room strategy sessions in multiple cities to get the groups home. The situation was so dire that, back on the ground in Thomasville, the unbreakable seal was broken as Mr. Grooms had to be interrupted DURING CLASS to help manage the situation.
Fast forward to the Spring of 2019. Over the past several weeks, I sat down with small groups of your class to talk about peak moments in your experience at Brookwood. Invariably, the D.C. trip was identified as a defining moment. Your class had bonded through difficulty, risen to the challenge, and emerged a more unified whole.
When asked, you describe yourselves as “close,” “involved,” “engaged,” “leaders,” “spirited,” “goofy,” “not too cool for school,” and — unapologetically — “the best class ever.” You cite powderpuff prowess, victories over athletic and literary rivals, killer all-school musical performances. Having been beneficiaries of the Spirit Stick an unprecedented two times was evidence of your greatness.
A whopping half of your class joined Brookwood in Pre-K or Kindergarten. Stated differently, for half of you, being a Brookwood Warrior is all you have ever known. It is no surprise, then, that, as members of your class were added, they were embraced, and you have continued to grow and develop this sense of unity.
There is no doubt that you will be missed. You have added a lot of life to our school. That said, you are ready for the next step.
As you embark on your next adventure and go in separate pathways, remember these lessons that you have already learned:
Growth can come through adversity. You cannot always control what will happen, but you can control how you react to any situation.
Iron sharpens iron. You become better at what you do when surrounded by people who challenge you.
Embrace the “space between.” The true tests in life are in the uncertainties. Leaders are made in the grey areas of life.
It is often not the destination, but the journey. No one knows how many days God has given us. What we know is that each new day is a gift to better your life and the lives of those around you.
And, finally, never lose your Warrior Spirit. It has served you well and will continue to do so.
You are a community of leaders, Brookwood Class of 2019. It has been a pleasure to get to know you and watch you grow. Good luck and God bless.