More than 35 years ago an excited crowd of children in colorful costumes gathered in the gym at the then Highlands Day School. It was finally their turn to lead the Halloween celebrations with a parade. In the middle of the bunch, between the queen of hearts and a witch, was a little flower fairy in homemade wings. That fairy was me.
Since then, the paved carpool circle has become a beautiful grassy quad. The school amended its name and added the 8th grade. Principals have come and gone, and even Dicki Arn retired. My friends grew up to be real doctors, ballerinas, veterinarians, and community leaders.
While a lot has changed in the three decades that have passed since that moment, the memory has not faded. Nor have the friendships, or the love of learning that Highlands instilled in us all those years ago.
Now, I am returning to campus but this time as a parent. My daughter is preparing for what in her mind is the biggest moment of her young life so far - the 1st grade Halloween Parade.
The feelings are familiar.
The tradition, unchanged by time or generations, highlights just one more reason why Highlands is unlike any other school. Not because of a Halloween Parade, but because of the way children are treated as people. They are important members of the community and allowed to become leaders on campus and in the classroom.
The connection at Highlands between teachers and students creates a passion for personal growth and progress. I know what a difference that can make. Feeling respected at school as a child gave me the confidence to learn, grow, explore and never be afraid to try to make a difference in the world.
As parents we want our children to have even more opportunities than we did. For many that means moving to a new city or a new school district. For me, it meant moving back home from the Northeast and giving my daughter a chance to begin her educational journey at a school that is unlike any other. Where the magic of discovery and the love of learning are always alive.
This year as the parade circles campus, I will be reminded of the comfort of traditions at a school that is able to advance and adapt no matter what the world brings.