Although this year challenged our School in immeasurable ways, students, faculty, and staff still found time to embrace and celebrate joy. Hear from Upper School Dean of Students Kelly Sumner as she shares 6 ways Ashley Hall students have stayed connected this year.

“This year is especially challenging—as we knew it would be—and the SLC is meeting the need to provide an extra layer of comfort and care to our students. All of our students are still processing the abrupt ending of school last spring, the loss of a summer as they would have experienced it, the daily challenges of mask wearing and social distancing, and the constant worry about what the rest of the year will look like. The SLC already feels like a ‘check in’ spot—not just for business but for yourself—a place to relax a bit, unwind, and meet with the adults on campus who are helping to guide you, support you, and cheer you on.

Our current challenges are gatherings, togetherness, and space. We are supporting students by helping them to reframe their expectations and find the beauty and the joy in getting to do things traditionally, but with a twist. We have had to reimagine what we do but are committed to capturing everything in a way that still honors the spirit of the event. It is easy to get caught up in something ‘not being the same’ just because it looks different, but it can still feel the same and have the same end result, maybe even a better one!

A silver lining is realizing a true appreciation for the opportunity to be together in community; students are gaining the ability to appreciate both what they have lost as well as what they still have in a way that wouldn’t have been possible without these restrictions. Daily conversations are happening in the SLC about triumphs, struggles, plans, ideas, worries, fears, and hopes. Questions are answered, tears are shed, complaints are heard, news is shared, excitement is expressed, and visions are co-created.”

6 Ways Ashley Hall Upper School Students are Staying Connected