The story this week was going to highlight Hyde's annual Leadership Day. We were scheduled to host 1,200 students from public and private schools all around the state to explore the theme of leadership at a day of keynotes, seminars, and panels. While Leadership Day is always a bit nerve-racking—especially for our Athletic Director, Stefan Jenson—it energizes everyone and is a powerful day of learning.
Instead, we experienced what far too many in the US and elsewhere have experienced: the unthinkable tragedy of innocent people losing their lives in a mass shooting. While Hyde is 35 miles from the site in Lewiston, Maine, we all felt the impact of having to stop our plans, shelter in place, and process all of the "what ifs" that come with facing proximity to a crisis.
In all obstacles, there are opportunities to see people step up and be there for each other. After postponing the Leadership Day, we were left with dismantling the venues that students and faculty had worked so hard to set up. Also, a group of students and faculty boxed up the 1000 lunches that had been prepared by Chef Mo and her team and were able to transport the lunches to the Auburn Fire Department. Auburn is just across the river from Lewiston, and the meals could be distributed to the first responders engaged in the effort to protect Lewiston and surrounding communities.
The last few days of the week saw our community sheltering in place and trying to find some sense of community as we waited for news of resolution. While facing another unthinkable crisis and having it unfold near us, we were able to find some moments to lean on each other. Veteran Hyde leader Bob Felt commented, "The clean-up in the gym was an example of our best; students and faculty came together to take care of our community and each other."
As we face tragic events across the world and even in our own state, our pledge is to be agents of change who will bring about more character and leadership in our world.
Laura D. Gauld '76