By Kevin Snyder, History and Social Sciences Faculty & Girls Tennis Coach
My favorite time of day at WA are quad transitions.
One of WA’s many procedures to protect our community during COVID-19 is the shuffling of students and teachers outside on the quad between classes. Several times a day, the entire community comes and meets on the quad to get in line and head back to their classrooms. When the weather is nice, this time provides everyone with an escape from the day and a chance to come together as a cohort; frisbees fly, soccer balls are kicked, but mostly, it’s a chance to stand (socially distanced) and talk.
As a new faculty member, I was immediately drawn to the community that has been built on the Hilltop. From my first interactions with faculty, staff, and students, I realized that community matters here. This is a common claim in the independent school world, but there is something different about it at WA – the daily conversations that I have energize me. Whether it is speaking with my colleagues in the history department about our lessons, or Appalachian snake handlers (a very real conversation that I was recently a part of), or watching my F Period Urban History class make a TikTok together on the quad, or if it is reaching out to students interested in playing girls tennis this spring (Follow us on Instagram—@wa_girlstennis), I consistently find myself energized by those around me.
Transitions are not easy, but the organic community-building that has developed at WA turns transitions from difficult, to doable. What I have learned in my short two months working here is that everyone on this campus wants everyone else to succeed, and that once you set foot on campus you are a part of the team trying to make this possible. The support that I have felt as someone starting out on campus has allowed me to grow – which in turn, has allowed me to make sure my students feel supported so they can grow. This is only possible in communities like Worcester Academy.
I made the decision to come to WA because of the opportunities that I would have as a faculty member, to continue to grow as a teacher in the classroom, as a coach on the soccer field or tennis court, and as a dorm parent in the Residential Life program. And what makes me feel connected is the community. The energy that persists from the students, faculty, and staff of WA creates a buzz on campus that makes working and learning here exciting.