Each year, TMI Episcopal chooses a theme to represent how we are committed to serving our students and their families. They are not simply words on a banner, but a creed, a motto, by which we will easily live into on the “lighter days” and a belief that will serve as a buoy on those days that are more challenging. This year’s theme is “Thank God It’s Today.” As the familiar saying goes, “Yesterday is in the past, tomorrow is in the future, but TODAY is a gift.” And that is how I have decided to lean into this school year—knowing that after almost three decades of working with children, I am still blessed with the opportunity to start anew and to receive the gift of a new day and a new year.
I am truly honored to serve as the head of an Episcopal school, and I am excited to welcome back inquiring and impressionable young minds, after what I hope was a summer of adventures, excitement, and relaxation. As educators around the world finalize their preparations for the upcoming 2023—2024 school year, I am reminded of what the first day of school meant to me. It was a time to carry my shiny new Wonder Woman lunch pail and matching backpack while dressed in my pleated Catholic school jumper as my armor (after my grandmother starched each pleat with great care!). My newly polished saddle oxfords and freshly sharpened pencils provided the final touches for what promised to be a great school year.
While it was always an exciting time for me, the first day of school can be defined by a myriad of emotions. Many children (and teachers) share in my nostalgia while others will need more time to adjust to the end-of-summer activities and return to a routine—administrators included! So…as you transition from shorts and sandals to heels and ties, here are a few tips to help you along the way:
- Remember your WHO. Whether it is our youngest learners on the playground, tweens, and teens in the student commons, or teachers in the faculty lounge, make eye contact with those individuals whose lives you are committed to making better.
- Remember your WHAT. You have been called to guide, to teach, to learn, to lead, and to LOVE.
- Remember your WHY. Most of us will never be on the cover of TIME Magazine, but that does not diminish the impact of our legacy. On the days filled with sunshine and those filled with rain, remember your purpose.
As these summer days come to an end, I hope your lemonade is more sweet than tart, that you feel a cool breeze along with the summer heat, and that you create just a few more cherished memories with friends and family. I wish each of you a school year filled with new experiences and triumphs that make lives better for our beloved students. And know that each day, you will find me in the Texas Hill Country living in the present, and being grateful for each day that allows us to be open to all that is possible. Thank God it’s today!
Dr. Jasmine B. Harris is the Head of School at TMI Episcopal in San Antonio, TX.