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Embracing Change: Reflecting on Our Past to Shape Our Future

David Racine, Dean of Students

E Pluribus Unum”
—United States Motto
The New Year has passed, and recently, I have had time to reflect more on 2020. We often do not give ourselves the time and space to reflect on our life experiences and what has happened around the world. Reflection can take place in many different ways: walking to first block class, journaling in Mr. Reynolds’ English class, getting lost in thought during a run on the prairie, or simply lying in bed after lights out calming your thoughts. The most opportune time for me to reflect is during a run or while riding my bike, two of my favorite leisure activities. This past year, I made a commitment to being in the best shape of my life, so I had ample opportunities to reflect on my life and what was happening around me. Ultimately, the common theme of 2020 — was change.

Change is a constant in the world and within us, yet we often struggle to accept this truth and fight for predictability, certainty, and comfort.

All of us, every single year, we’re a different person. I don’t think we’re the same person all our lives.”
—Steven Spielberg
Unfortunately, throughout the past year, we witnessed a significant amount of conflict across the United States that we are still witnessing today: coronavirus, racial injustice, partisan politics, fake news versus truth, and an attack on the U.S. Capitol Building to name just a few. I should add that, for the first time in our nation’s history, many are worried about a peaceful transfer of power during tomorrow’s inauguration. We are afraid of change, which has often led us down the path of conflict because of the unknowns that lie ahead.

Recognizing that change is inevitable, and arguably a good thing, I challenge you to embrace it, to hold on to it no matter how uncomfortable it may be, and to leverage the capacity you’ve developed to engage in crucial conversations instead of conflict.

Life is a progress, and not a station.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson
Essentially, with every change lies an opportunity to progress and make the world a better place. My goal in life is to share my purpose and gifts in order to make a positive impact that will enhance, even in the slightest way, the world in which we live.

As you prepare to witness tomorrow’s Presidential Inauguration, no matter where you align politically, reflect on the United States’ motto “E Pluribus Unum,” which translates to “out of many, one.” Throughout the many evolutions of change since the founding of the United States, this country has always persevered and remained “one” aligned with a shared desire to create something better for all by the checks and balances that are a part of our government and political process and grounded in healthy debate. Fountain Valley School has a legacy of building a community of “many” and embracing the diversity of thought, gender identity, nationality, race and ethnicity, and whether we are day or boarding students as an essential part of our FVS experience. Much like the past year, 2021 will inevitably bring forth change, and we, as a community, must find strength and willingness to work together as “one” to move not only FVS, but the world, forward.

I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes that I hope will help you through the struggles of change and uncertainty that lie ahead.

You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
—Mahatma Gandhi
I look forward to the conversations we will have this afternoon in Advisory, and that we will have tomorrow, and in the coming year.

David Racine
Dean of Students
FVS is a private, college-preparatory, co-ed, day and boarding school for grades 9-12 in Colorado Springs.
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