Oh, the spring of 2020. When the calendar pages turned to the new year, we were sure we knew what the spring season would bring for us: Planning for Community Weekend. Gathering together with our friends in college admissions and student life to interview the often-nervous, but always-impressive high school junior at the end of the table. Exciting times of connection and communion.
The best laid plans, right? We, like most of you, have had to change the script a bit, adjust to new structures and rethink how we would now do what we’ve done in the past.
And that is what we are doing! As you already know, we’ve had to cancel Community Weekend this year, and we are continuing to reimagine what we can do to connect our Scholars, Alumni, staff and board members. We’ve formulated a plan to interview the Finalists by video without changing our usual process of having an interview committee of college admissions and student life professionals. We continue to support the Scholars who are graduating from high school and those currently in college to make sure they can get through these uncertain times with as much normalcy as can be mustered.
Even as I write that, the idea of “normalcy” seems a bit far away, and the idea that the times are “uncertain” feels like the only constant. Well, the other constant - the words and phrases that we now hear and read all the time. In fact, here are some words I am sure we are all tired of hearing:
Unprecedented Flattening the curve Social distancing
These are words that, before February or March of this year, we heard much more rarely, if ever. We hear them regularly now, and with good reason - this is unprecedented; flattening the curve is vital to protect our healthcare system and workers from being overwhelmed; social distancing is the easiest (and sometimes, for some of us, the hardest) way that everyday people can act heroically to prevent the spread - but that doesn’t detract from the face that these have become wearying phrases emblematic of a wearying time.
So, we are outside of “normal” right now, but I know one thing that we can count on is the network of the Lenfest community. We put out a call at the beginning of the year, asking alums to share updates on their lives - and boy, did they deliver! We are especially excited that we heard from so many Prep Scholars! We are dedicating this issue to all of the alumni that are the foundation of our community, and to that end we are including all of the updates that we received. We hope you’ll continue to reach out and share with us; in future issues, we’d like to have a section dedicated to alumni news, so you haven’t missed your chance! We also have a reflection from Josh Smith (LCSP 2002) about his time serving the community as the first alumni board member.
The times may be extraordinary right now, and the newsletter may be a little different than normal too, but we hope that you will be inspired to reach out to your friends and fellow Scholars that you may not have talked to - or that you hoped to catch up with at Community Weekend.
More than anything, we hope that you are healthy, that you are feeling safe and secure, and that you are weathering this period with grace, humor, patience, and understanding - for yourselves and for others. (And, of course, that you are maintaining physical distance as much as you can and washing your hands frequently!) We are all in this together (the final, as-yet-unmentioned cliche) and we are here to support you.