Paint with optimism

The smell of new paint lingers in the hallways, walls have been  knocked down between classrooms, and there are new conference rooms for private teacher-student meetings. It’s all part of Shalhevet’s newest remodeling – the third in four years.

Students arriving at orientation this week immediately sensed change. The outside walls are bright red – Firehawk color – the bell schedule is different, and new teachers have been brought in. And our new head of school, Rabbi Segal, has his office located in the middle of the hallway – not in the glass-walled office at the south end of the long hall.

After summer break, students are never really ready to climb back into school mode. It’s inevitable that they’ll miss their homework-free nights and sleep-in-late mornings. When they’re bombarded with the major changes, some may be overwhelmed.

What students need to do is relax, take a deep breath, and try being optimistic. If they judge too quickly, they may miss the benefits of the changes that have been made.

For example, school now begins at 8 am and ends at 4:45. In the history of Shalhevet, we have never started so late and ended so early. The faculty is different, but think about it: every favorite teacher was once new.

Extra-curriculars are now being called “co-curriculars,” which may sound just semantic but may turn out to mean more attention, time and consideration for the non-class activities students love.

Also, some things will stay the same — Shalhevet’s culture isn’t about to die out! Last week, Rabbi Segal assured Boiling Point editors said one of his goals was to strengthen the Just Community. He plans to raise its profile, and one way he’s pursued this is by giving Fairness and Agenda an office to share.

He also mentioned that he would be open to having student leaders bring him a monthly report of the student body. Shalhevet’s culture isn’t going anywhere.

It’s inevitable that some students will miss our old classrooms and cringe at our brightly colored walls.

But pessimism isn’t going to get us anywhere. Have a little faith in the school. A fresh coat of paint is, well, a fresh coat of paint. And that Firehawk red has represented us for a very long time.