Out of the mist came the applause, as foreign and unexpected as something emerging from the mist in a suspenseful movie, but this certainly was not threatening. As the applause built around the soccer field last night, as a small group of parents watched their sons play in an intersquad scrimmage, it took me a few moments to realize that I couldn’t remember the last time I had heard that sound. With gatherings of all kinds moving to Zoom or Google meet, there have been few chances to share that universal gesture of approval and recognition as a community since March.

There have been many moments this fall worthy of a hearty round of applause in our community. The faculty and staff’s tireless work to build a learning community in a pandemic, the energy and thoughtful questions that parents have brought to LAPA meetings, and the commitment that the students have made to keeping each other safe by wearing masks and practicing social distancing are all at the top of my list of applause-worthy accomplishments.

I joined in the applause last night and felt part of a small group of people witnessing a little piece of normalcy in a sea of uncertainty. Through that mist we all saw boys enjoying a game, even wearing masks. Through that applause, we acknowledged our students’ resiliency and found a way to celebrate the high school experience, even one that looks very different than we hoped it would.

As I walked back to Borland Hall last night, I was grateful for the reminder that sometimes young people adapt where adults see only hurdles; to remember the beauty in a simple gesture of applause that this pandemic has made even more meaningful.

Be well and stay safe,

Jeffrey S. Burroughs