Sailing Forward Together

By Michael Fellin, Headmaster of Crescent School
“When do you think things will go back to normal?” asked a prospective parent in a recent conversation about a Crescent School education. “I’m looking for some assurance that my son will enjoy a regular school experience.” As I listened and empathized as a parent myself, I was conscious of the tension between what was in my head and my heart. Emotionally, I know that kids need to experience school in a predictable and sustained manner; cognitively, I also know there are no guarantees in life.
If there is one painful lesson we have learned over the past two years it is this: While we have all been experiencing the same storm, we sail in different ships. Yet, the great Stoic philosopher Seneca reminds us: “If a man knows not to which port he sails, no wind is favorable.”

The recent announcement by the provincial government regarding further easing of restrictions is news we have all been longing for — the gradual elimination of all COVID-19 public health measures. These pandemic habits of wearing masks, watching our distance, washing our hands, and getting immunized have helped keep us all safe, particularly those who are most vulnerable: the elderly, immunocompromised, and frontline workers such as doctors, nurses, bus drivers, teachers, daycare staff, and grocery workers, who must report to work in the face of unknown threats to their physical health.

The government announcement also noted that if public health indicators continue to improve, the COVID-19 vaccination certificate will no longer be required, international travel will resume without PCR testing, and capacity limits will be removed for large gatherings. As has been the case since the start of the pandemic, Crescent will continue to follow the direction of local public health officials and the Ministry of Education to guide school operations and mitigate the risk of virus spread in the community. In this unique way, our private institution practices our greater public purpose.

Does everyone agree with Crescent’s approach? The simple answer is no, we sail in different ships. That said, more than ever we are called to chart our way forward, our intended port — Men of Character from Boys of Promise. Since developing character is a voyage, we believe that it is not a fixed trait; it is a variable competency. Character is not something only for our boys to learn; it is for adults to live as well. Character is not something we purchase for a fee; it is something embraced as a choice. Character is not something we promise; it is something we hope to produce. Character is not a set of values to champion; it is a set of principles to earn. When we say we value respect, responsibility, honesty, and compassion, we may reveal our ethical preference; but when we live by these values, we reveal our moral character. In short, Crescent School seeks not to transact with customers; we seek to transform students. 

I wish to thank our many Crescent parent partners, committed volunteers, and generous donors who have trusted the school, especially during these trying times. Your support of our boys’ education has been deeply felt and appreciated. You have ensured our buoyancy through these difficult two years and have signaled your commitment in the form of record constituent engagement and philanthropy — the school’s most successful fundraising year in our 108-year history. I am so humbled that to date, we have not foregone a single day of instruction due to factors within our control. Our port has never been clearer, and the winds are calming. I invite you to sail with us as we journey out of our present state and toward a brighter future.

See all of Headmaster Fellin's Open Mike Blogs