Alumni Matter #3
The third in a series of open letters from the head of school to the alumni community.
The classrooms are dark. The Chapel is empty. The playing fields and courts are silent. The dorms are hushed. The hallways are noiseless. The stage is vacant. The overwhelming COVID-19-induced quiet on campus right now is in stark contrast to the rampant activity that typically defines this amazing campus as graduation day approaches. While beautiful and vibrant late-spring days are taking over for the lugubrious and rainy days of April, there has still been a palpable dearth of energy on this stunningly picturesque campus because of the absence of our students.
And then came Tuesday and the wonderful, boisterous surge of energy we witnessed when we undertook our Stand Up for Pomfret Day of Giving. What a day it was! While there was no precipitous population explosion on campus, no social distancing violations because people suddenly were crowding around the Sundial, things felt different. People did, after all, “show up.” And in unprecedented fashion.
Leading the way was the great class of 2020, who despite being deprived of their senior spring and on-campus graduation ceremonies, led the way in the total number of gifts given. They were joined by alumni from all over the country and the globe; 60 percent of the gifts given came from alums, led by the top five classes, 2004, 1992, 1965, 1998 and 2005. Kudos to them, and to all alums who “stood up for Pomfret.” But we also saw hundreds of parents — past, present and future — join in the fun. Not to be outdone, current and former faculty and staff members also stepped up, with more than 100 present day and former employees did their part to support this remarkable initiative.
I would be remiss if I did not give a hearty shout out to all of the members of the Advancement team, who along with literally hundreds of alumni and parent volunteers, reached out to friends, classmates, and fellow parents to enlist their support. It was a Herculean effort, and when all was said and done, we had blown away all previous Day of Giving efforts, both in terms of dollars raised and number of donors.
When we stepped back and looked at what we had accomplished, we were overjoyed, though perhaps not entirely surprised. For what we witnessed was an outpouring of love and support for Pomfret School. That love for this place that is borne of so many experiences, so many relationships, so many deep and lasting memories that nurture and sustain people whose lives are forever touched by this place and its people. Though I agree wholeheartedly that you cannot put a price on love, we raised over $575,000 from 1,332 donors in just 24 hours. That’s a lot of love, and a true testament to the enduring place Pomfret holds in our collective hearts.
We still have work to do to bring Pomfret back to its full self, to continue to push the boundaries of what our educational program can be. The current pandemic has challenged us in ways we’ve never seen before, but to paraphrase Maya Angelou, “still we rise.”