Grandparents and Special Friends Day is another reason to celebrate who we are. Today, we were so glad to share a sliver of the Currey Ingram way today with over 550 grandparents and special friends.
My mother, stepfather and brother are all in town for Thanksgiving and fortunately experienced Grandparents Day at CIA, as well. They were astounded, and I was glad they got to see the school. It is always valuable to take a step back and view your experience through the eyes of another to appreciate the full impact. I cannot begin to describe how proud I am to be part of this wonderful school and the great people who make it what it is.
Without question, Currey Ingram’s grandparents play a special role in the educational lives of their grandchildren. The learning challenges our students face place a strain on our families, and often grandparents step in and help. We know that so much of what we accomplish is a result of our grandparent community.
I mentioned in my speech today that grandparents and special friends would experience a truly state-of-the-art school. They would see many things (e.g., use of technology, use of a whiteboard instead of a chalkboard) that are just not the same as when they went to school. But I assured them that the most important and fundamental things we do, in fact, are aligned with what every wise grandparent knows to be true.
For example, I mentioned that just like when they went to school, an educational experience is only as good as the people delivering that experience. Thus, despite the wondrous facilities and the outstanding resources at Currey Ingram, our students love this school because of the phenomenal people that work here.
I also noted that Currey Ingram provides a setting for students to be themselves. This is a school that yells from the mountain tops...it’s okay to be you. In fact, we find our students and meet them where they are and then figure out the education that they need to be successful. Next to parents, who better than grandparents to appreciate the impact of this approach.
Grandparents also might tell you that a great education still starts with the “three r’s”... reading, writing and arithmetic. We agree. It’s just that at Currey Ingram teaching the “three r’s” is individualized. Students experience instruction in a way that suits them.
As grandparents experienced the day, they quickly got a sense of both why their grandchildren love the school and why their grandchildren are so successful. During the ceremony in the Frist Gym, students from all Divisions sang their hearts out for their grandparents, bringing many, including me, to tears. Board member and CIA grandparent Pat Riley spoke from a grandparent’s perspective. Upper School teacher Sean Kelly put together a wonderful Meet Our Students video compilation that took us into the lives of seven CIA families. And, alumni speaker Franklin Pargh (WSN ‘99) spoke of his transformative experience as a student at Westminster School of Nashville (the original name of our school). He also reminded students to be truly thankful for their Currey Ingram education and to seek opportunities in life.
As I visited each Division after the ceremony, I saw the students, teachers and administrative teams doing a wonderful job of engaging our visitors. Along with so much more, Upper School grandparents and special friends experienced science experiments, music recording and the ABCs of college counseling. Middle School students and their visitors created family quilt squares and toured their classes. In the Lower School, grandparents and special friends enjoyed shadow puppetry, a simple machines fair, Strengths & Talents displays, classroom activities and more. What a joy it is to share the talent and passion of our students and faculty.
To all CIA family members: If you are traveling this break, please be safe. Please also enjoy your family time and say a little something extra special to your parents, grandparents and special friends who make your life and your children’s lives so rich.