Second Issue of The Waterford Magazine Published
The second issue of The Waterford Magazine, The Caring Issue was published this month with features of Waterford's Middle and Upper School dean structure, the outcomes and learning that came from this unusual year of the Covid-pandemic, and a look into the Nature Lab, now run by Mark Bromley. Below is a letter from the Head of School Andrew Menke with a link below to view the magazine online.
The purpose of Waterford’s liberal arts education is to nurture the habits of mind and heart that lead our graduates to pursue lives of active engaged citizenship. In all divisions of the School, students are taught how to think, not what to think—to ask probing questions, consider evidence, reflect critically, and form sound positions. Ultimately our goal is to foster in our students the passion and purpose to positively impact the communities in which they live and learn. We hope our students care deeply about the world around them!
This particular form of our core value of caring—having the capacity to take a deep interest in the world around us—is both an intellectual and an emotional habit of being that we pursue with intention across Waterford’s academic and art disciplines, in and out of school, and amidst social interactions. Teaching children these fundamental skills requires a devoted and skilled faculty with a courageous commitment to intellectual inquiry, adaptability, and truth-seeking. It also requires the careful building of a culture and climate that celebrates vulnerability, self-exploration and the recognition that some ideas and evidence may challenge us. F. Scott Fitzgerald famously said “The test of first rate intelligence is to hold two opposing ideas at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” This is the true liberal arts spirit and it is evident in Waterford’s community of care.
Throughout this unusual year, we have each grappled with our own lives and truths in new and illuminating ways—whether it was the challenge of new circumstances brought on by the halt of life as we knew it in March with the global pandemic, or when social media began to amplify voices of the underserved and underrepresented, or perhaps, the historical presidential election.
And yet, with each challenge brought on during these tumultuous times, we are comforted by the shared purpose of our work; the elevated intention of creating a learning environment committed to the aspirational vision of the liberal arts, and to the work of transforming lives each and every day. Our cohesive community is committed to the enduring ideals that help our students to embrace challenge, seek out opportunity and embrace ambiguity, ultimately fostering a love of life-long learning and the passionate capacity to adapt and thrive in a world of rapid change.
The ethic of care animates all that we do. As we challenge students with discussion, writing, and problem solving activities to internalize learning, we are cultivating intrinsic motivation to pursue a more profound depth of understanding. From creating a documentary to illuminate the challenges of immigrant children, to raising money for technology to connect families with loved ones battling COVID-19 in hospitals, to organizing a blood drive to ensure availability of blood during this pandemic, we cultivate in our students the skill of information acquisition and assessment, thereby building their capacity to shape and work toward a more positive future. It is our job to educate, not indoctrinate, and to amplify the access to, and impact of, our mission for all students at Waterford.
The aspiration of the Waterford mission and vision is fortified by a foundation of care that inspires us to be ever-better, as a school and as human beings stitched together in common pursuit and shared purpose.
During this unprecedented time of uncertainty brought on by the pandemic, social injustice, and remote learning and work, students and colleagues are united by the central tenet of care that has characterized our learning community since our founding in 1981. Each of our core values—integrity, excellence, curiosity, responsibility... and Caring, this year’s school theme—are essential to our work on campus and in a virtual setting. I see colleagues draw on our values each day to fuel their professionalism and humanity, and our students embody our values as they navigate this year with grit and determination.
We are forever grateful to all in our community, for their profound care for Waterford School. We have been tested, last March and this fall. I hope the pages that follow illustrate the extraordinary response from students, faculty, staff, parents and alumni who have offered a wellspring of inspiration that lifts and compels us forward each day here on campus.
With gratitude and best wishes for health and happiness,
Head of School
Andrew Menke became Waterford’s second Head of School in 2016. Andrew came to Waterford after serving as the Head of the New Hampton School in New Hampton, NH. Andrew has spent his entire career in education. He has served three different independent schools for the last 32 years as a faculty member, coach, advisor, admissions and development director and, for the past 22 years, as a School Head. He first served as Head of the Colorado Rocky Mountain School; and prior to joining Waterford School led New Hampton School in New Hampton, NH. Andrew holds a B.A. from Towson University and M.A. from Dartmouth College. In his free time, he enjoys skiing, running, fly fishing, climbing, surfing, and road cycling. Andrew’s wife, Jennifer, is a Physical Therapist. The Menkes have two children — Anna, 26, and Auden, 24