Dear Parents,

Tomorrow is one of my favorite traditions at Powhatan, our annual Carol Sing.

Traditions represent a critical piece of Powhatan’s school culture. Traditions and rituals help cement our school’s identity while signaling our school values. Additionally, they are one of the best ways to maintain a healthy school culture. They remind us that we are part of a larger history that defines our past, shapes who we are today, and impacts who we are to become in the future.

The wonderful thing about a school entering its 70th year of education is we have the ability to look back, reflect on the change and innovation that has gotten us here, see how far we have come, and imagine a vision of how far we can go.

A tradition like Carol Sing reinforces our value of community. This musical gift of the season brings families together and provides a common experience shared by generations of students, parents, grandparents, and faculty alike at Powhatan. It is also a wonderful time to pause, reflect, and remember what is truly important to cherish and celebrate at this time of the year.

This fall, we’ve embarked on a year’s journey to embrace the theme of innovation. We explore it at faculty meetings, we see it throughout the school every week, and you’ve seen and will see it in my communications in these letters. Innovation and tradition – the two may seem counter-intuitive at first glance. But the deeper we look at these experiences, the more we see the connection.

A number of our long-held traditions, such as the annual Shakespeare Play, Chapel Talks, Post/Rail Competitions, Grandparents Day, or Carol Sing, may seem immune to innovation and change. Yet these experiences are not exactly the same as they were ten, twenty or thirty years ago – much less seventy years ago. They adapt over time as we add new twists and challenges, but at the core, they provide a common experience for all of our students. It is that experience, along with their academic preparation, that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives and will help to form the essence of the person they will become.

Carol Sing has lasted through many years of Powhatan’s history. It is a gift that our students give to their parents, families, and friends. We see hope and promise in their eyes as they stand before their audience creating music from their hearts. This Powhatan tradition gives our students an inner spirit that they may one day take into the world and use for positive change. Who knows what innovative ideas may come about as a result of that spirit!

May your Winter Break be filled with all the joys of the holiday season, and I look forward to sharing our tradition of Carol Sing with you!

Sue Scarborough
Head of School