Dear GAC Family,
During the past two months, we have faced the hardship and challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic together. The disruption and loss have been real. Our GAC community experienced the loss of family members, economic hardship, interruption of daily life, and uncertainty about the future. But we stuck together, transitioned to online learning, stayed connected, and finished the year unified.
Now, in the midst of this ongoing health crisis, we’ve been reminded of another crisis, one that has been going on for far too long. Like all of you, I have struggled to process the senseless, heartbreaking killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. And so many other needless tragedies, less well known, but just as agonizing.
I hurt for our GAC Black families and other families of color. I am angry that racial injustices still exist. And I am troubled by how some misuse this important time for their own reasons for violence and destruction. I want better for our world, for our GAC community, and I want to be better. I don’t understand all the aspects of your pain and sufferings, but I stand with you, determined that GAC will be a source of love and support for your children, for you, and future generations.
I’m thankful GAC is blessed to be among the most diverse metropolitan independent Christian schools in the nation, from students and parents, faculty/staff, and our Board of Trustees. And we are grateful that GAC is not only white and black, but Asian and Hispanic. We are urban, suburban, and rural. Our families are American, and Colombian; French and Korean; Nigerian and Chinese; Canadian, Mexican, Vietnamese, and more. This fullness of the GAC community makes us stronger.
I believe that GAC is both an amazing—and inherently flawed—community. Though we are biased and inconsistent in ways we can’t see at times, I am convinced that together, we desire to be the unified Family of God. We are on a vital mission for ALL OUR CHILDREN, for their learning, character, faith, and their significant purpose in life. That mission affects every aspect of what we say, teach, and do, from learning to every program within the school. Our calling is far beyond “just school”. We at GAC are called to act, love, and speak up like Jesus in this challenging world that prefers to split us up. We will point to the unity of brothers and sisters across every divide; listen to one another across race, economic, national, and opinion differences; and lift up one another.
Together, we have the responsibility to prepare our children to lead far better than our generation has. We will do all we can to model and teach understanding, compassion, and love for others. To listen from a position of curiosity, not defense. And to be “quick to hear” each other, as the Apostle James urged us. As Paul wrote in Philippians 2:3-4, we will strive to value others above ourselves and seek what’s in their best interest, and we will teach our children to do the same. Our heart is to foster an inclusive community, one in which every student feels connected, loved, and valued.
I know I still have much to learn and to grow myself. I hope you will learn with me as we journey together.
Scott Harsh, Ed.D