As a parent of a Kindergartener and 2nd grader, I am thrilled our kids have the experience of starting wonderful long-lasting friendships even earlier than I did. I started Randolph in the 6th grade when our family moved to Huntsville.
As I look back, I think about how challenging it could have been to have entered a new school at that critical point of development. I could have been lost or left out of networks of classmates who had been friends since kindergarten. But that is not what happened to me.
Many schools can teach academics, but how many focus on developing the better parts of our character?
The atmosphere at Randolph I remember was one of kindness, as both fellow students and new teachers welcomed me and my brother in a way that we both remember fondly. That ability of Randolph to encourage everyone to extend that kindness is what makes me so proud of our school. Many schools can teach academics, but how many focus on developing the better parts of our character? This is how I remember Randolph.
This picture of me playing basketball is one example of opportunities available to Randolph students who had an interest. We were given a chance, regardless of our native ability, to develop our skills in sports, the arts, and in specific clubs. When I listened to classmates as a freshman at Washington University, I realized that not all schools are so supportive.
Now as a Randolph parent, I feel this same warmth of kindness as I walk our children across their campus. It is the same campus I remember when growing up. Our favorite place, the Lower School library, is filled with well chosen books and an enthusiastic Mrs. Simpson is always ready to help. When I ask our children about their day, they always talk about what they learn as well as how they feel about their day.
The images and sounds in my memories of Randolph include the lunchroom with gregarious Mrs. Betty... admissions with compassionate Evie Wilson... voices of encouragement by Coach Marshall in the gym... the sweet broad smile of Mrs. Shaw as she says, "Hi, sweetheart" to each and every child she passes. This is incomplete for sure, but so vivid. All of these faces are familiar and comforting and secure; a constant in an ever-changing world.
When my husband and I think of what it is we want for our children, we agree on most points. We want both of our children to be loved and cared for when away from us. We want a school that provides a security and comfort that helps build a strong foundation. We then want them to be challenged in their thinking, their beliefs, and their visions of what they can achieve.
I believe Randolph does this. For that, I am grateful.
Dr. Arora is one of seven alumni with a child in Kindergarten this year. We have asked our alumni to share their thoughts about returning to Randolph as parents. If you are interested in learning more about Randolph, please come to our fall Preview Day for all grades on October 20, 2015. Visit the Admissions > Events page for more information and a registration link.