‘The WMA community has what it takes . . .  to persevere despite what lies ahead’

 

There is only one thing I know for certain about this school year — that it will continue to challenge the WMA community, all of us, in ways we have never been challenged. I am also confident, although we are still learning more every day, that we have done everything in our power, literally, to prepare the Academy for this year. This preparation, regardless of how extensive, will inevitably be insufficient to totally shield WMA from some impact from the global pandemic. There are hard days ahead, but we remain ready.

By Brian P. Easler

Head of School

There is only one thing I know for certain about this school year — that it will continue to challenge the WMA community, all of us, in ways we have never been challenged. I am also confident, although we are still learning more every day, that we have done everything in our power, literally, to prepare the Academy for this year. This preparation, regardless of how extensive, will inevitably be insufficient to totally shield WMA from some impact from the global pandemic. There are hard days ahead, but we remain ready.

Anyone who has graduated from WMA in the last 22 years has probably heard me ramble on at one time or another about how easy our normal day-to-day lives are, generally, and that we are never really pushed to our limits to discover that our real limits are actually far beyond where we think they are. This was part of my message to the Class of 2020 in my address to them at their Virtual Commencement. It is a belief I hold dear, having been pushed at times in my life, like many of you, far beyond what I thought my limits were, to the realization of this tenet. This understanding fills me with confidence because I know that every single student and adult in the WMA community has what it takes, even if they do not realize it yet, to persevere despite what lies ahead.

This year, with all of its potential for disruptions and complications, presents us an opportunity to test our limits and to set a new bar, higher than we thought, for what we can manage and accomplish as individuals and as a school. Some of the lessons may be hard earned, for sure, but those lessons will undoubtedly serve our students well as they forge their lives after graduation.

I hear from alumni all the time how well their years at WMA prepared them for the challenges they have faced in their lives and how their time at the Academy has served them well as a foundation for continued learning and development. It is a hallmark of the transformational WMA experience. I have no doubt that their time on campus was influential in their journeys and that this year presents just such a learning opportunity for our current students. If it was to be a normal year with a casual campus social life and an easygoing ebb and flow of interpersonal engagement, it would certainly do just that. This year, however, presents an even greater opportunity for our students, because it will not be a normal year. 

I know they will rise to the challenge, and I know they will reap similar long-term benefits.

Many of our alumni have taken the lessons they learned here at WMA and, through their varied life and career experiences, applied them in roles and professions directly critical to managing this pandemic. Some of them are highlighted in this magazine. Their stories are inspiring and provide a glimpse into the possibilities that exist for our graduates to transform themselves and  the world around them for the better, especially in times of crisis.

The light of their example will guide us through this year, and we will emerge on the other side of this, with a triumphant Commencement for the Class of 2021, stronger than ever before and ready for the next challenge.

Respectfully,