What I’ve Heard at Our Family Reunions

Over the past two years, I have had the pleasure of traveling across the country to visit with Hopkins alumni/ae in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, D.C., North Carolina, Florida, Denver, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and, of course, here in Connecticut. I feel a rush of excitement when I enter a room in one of these places and see the maroon Hopkins banner welcoming all of us who share the connection to 1660. It feels a little like going to a family reunion in multiple cities where all the relationships formed come together to create a collective sense of belonging to something special.
I have enjoyed listening to alums’ stories from their time at Prospect Hill, the Day School, Day Prospect Hill, Hopkins Grammar School, and Hopkins School, and appreciate how these reflections share common threads that continue to define the Hopkins experience today. Like a family, we strive to instill shared values that transcend the barriers of time, place, and special circumstance, and these qualities create the culture that defines who we are as a school community.
One frequent reflection that resonates with me is the bonds that people forged at Hopkins—not necessarily the tests they took or the grades they received, but the people that made the moments matter. Nearly every conversation starts with a story about a teacher, coach, classmate, or friend who helped capture this sense of family—almost in a gesture to appreciate and thank those who had a profound impact on their lives.
These spirited conversations about the people of Hopkins often turn to an intellectual exploration of the world of ideas that dominate and define our school’s culture. I love to hear from alums about what they learned, how they learned it, what prepared them for their lives after graduation, and what skills they benefit from today.
While the recognition of Hopkins’ academic integrity and excellence emerges from most discussions, many of the stories shared with me focus on how alums benefitted from activities outside of the traditional academic sphere. In countless ways, I heard how the appetite for lifelong learning was developed not just in the classroom, but on the fields, in art studios, and in the theater as well. I have been struck by how often the values of social justice, diversity, and inclusion emerge as prominent themes in these conversations. Indeed, many of the most powerful lessons learned and skills acquired were often not the ones found on standardized tests.
Through every state and every city, every intimate conversation and every speech, the pride and sense of belonging to the Hopkins family is strong. We care about our people and the relationships that develop among the members of our community. We appreciate the intellectual pursuit, while balancing and celebrating other interests and activities that make us whole. We value diversity and commit ourselves to ensuring that the pathways to a Hopkins education remain accessible to all hopeful youths who possess the will and capacity to flourish at our school. As we move forward, our strategic direction and assessment of progress will be informed by these shared values.
I hope to see you soon at the next “family reunion.”