This time of year can feel crazy. In addition to planning for end-of-year activities, trips, and graduation, we are also working on setting the stage for the next school year. For those returning next year, let me thank you all for your timeliness in meeting our recent deadlines for re-enrollment.  It has been a very busy time, but this early planning goes a long way to ensuring a smooth start in the fall.

As we near the conclusion of this admission cycle, I have also reached out to our new families to welcome them to Cary Academy. They also were invited to our annual FunFest held on April 11, which is always a fabulous introduction to the positive spirit and energy of our community.

In the spirit of transparency, I thought I might also share with you a letter that I sent to our new families recently as a way of introduction and welcome. I do believe the message is relevant to all of us at CA.

April 2, 2014

Dear soon-to-be CA parents,

Let me be among the first to welcome you to Cary Academy! We are so delighted to have your family as part of our community.

I had a chance to introduce myself to many of you during our open houses this past fall. As you may recall, I am completing my first year as Cary Academy’s head of school. I joined CA along with my two children, one in middle and one in upper school. We cannot imagine having made a better choice for our family.

Let me also congratulate you on having successfully navigated the admissions process. This has been the most competitive year for seats since our school’s founding in 1996. Our admissions office and their committees worked tirelessly through snow days and ice storms to review applications. Individually, each one of our new students is outstanding. Collectively, well … wow. Let’s just say that we cannot wait for your child(ren) to join us in August.

Just this past week, at an event celebrating our graduating seniors, one parent commented on the impressive qualities of the CA student body. During a time when society seems to celebrate a lack of intellectual engagement, it is wonderful to see Cary Academy students lift each other up in pursuit of academic excellence.

I’ve seen the spirit of the Cary Academy student in a variety of settings this year. When I joined our outdoors club on a four-day backpacking trip, I listened to them around the campfire talk fondly of their teachers and passionately about their experiences at CA. While driving a group of debate students to a weekend tournament near Washington, DC, I listened to them argue the merits of immigration reform for hours. When observing a world history class in our middle school, I watched as the class dismissed and each student in turn thanked the teacher for his efforts as they left the room.

In my first week on the job, I had the good fortune to meet with our new alumni board. When asked why they wanted to serve, most said that it took them a few years after college to realized just how formative Cary Academy had been in their lives. This is where they learned to be a student, a citizen, and a friend — and they could draw a direct line to their success in college and life to their experiences at CA.

Of course, this doesn’t happen by accident. Our students are products of great families. We expect you to be involved positively in the life of your child(ren) and the life of the school.

And our promise?

I wish we could promise four to seven years of smooth sailing, a straight line to happiness and success. Well, actually, I don’t wish for a straight line, because that would be short changing our students some of their most important learning opportunities. Instead, we promise to model the very same things we want from our students. We will work hard. We will engage each other with kindness and optimism. We will take risks and learn from our mistakes. We will say thank you.

Let me close by wishing you all the very best this spring and summer. You will be receiving a lot of communication in the coming months about next school year, including an invitation to our Fun Fest on April 11 and our CA 101 workshop on May 3. In the meantime, please let this serve as your first welcoming message to the school.

Sincerely,

Michael Ehrhardt, Ed.D.
Head of School