Dear MICDS Family,
At least once every day at MICDS, at one point or another, I find myself walking along Carpe Diem Drive, the interior campus thoroughfare that runs parallel to Warson Road and fronts most of our Lower, Middle, and Upper School buildings. Like many people who have seen the movie Dead Poets Society, which popularized the “carpe diem” maxim, I cannot help but think of Robin Williams and company every time I see our Carpe Diem Drive sign—especially because I happen to know very well the campus of St. Andrew’s School in Delaware where the film was shot, and which is, like MICDS, an exceptionally beautiful and inspiring place.
“Carpe diem” is usually translated from the Odes of Horace as “seize the day,” but I have learned that some scholars of Latin suggest “pluck the day” instead, as if each morning were a ripe piece of fruit ready for the taking. Our students have embraced this maxim for some time. According to John Oleski, long-time CDS and MICDS teacher, the name for our campus thoroughfare came from a student contest that took place when it first opened. The editors of the 1994 MICDS yearbook, in that same early morning of our establishment as a single institution, cited “carpe diem” as the “Quote to Sum up the Year.”
What was true in 1994 remains true today, and in reflecting on the school year that we have just completed, I can think of no better phrase than “carpe diem” to describe the response of our community to the COVID-19 pandemic. In this issue of the MICDS Magazine you will learn how our science teachers redesigned their curriculum and laboratory exercises to accommodate both in-person and distance learning, how one of our world languages teachers prioritizes personal connections—so important during a time of social distancing—by drawing on his personal experiences, and how an alumnus built upon his experiences at MICDS to create a career of exploration. You will discover how Lower School students learned sign language to lead their classmates in song, how Middle School students used their creativity to design social-distancing tools, and how Upper School students carried on the tradition of the Blue Whale Cafe despite not having an in-person audience.
The work of a strong school and a strong school community does not pause in the face of challenges, no matter their scale or duration. We are certainly excited to return to regular operating conditions at MICDS this coming fall, but we are nevertheless proud of our achievements under what have been undeniably irregular conditions for more than a year. Horace did not qualify his imperative, after all, in terms of agreeable circumstances. He did not advise us merely to “seize the sunny day” or “seize the pleasant day.” He advised us to “seize the day,” at all dawnings, whether overcast, bright, fraught with storms, chilly, or beautiful.
Our resolve to make the most of every moment at MICDS has not weakened through the coronavirus pandemic, and it will not weaken in the time to come. Every day in support of the growth and education of children and young people is a day to be seized. It has been a good year, and we look forward to many more. Carpe diem!
Head of School