Saying meaningful goodbyes

Saying+meaningful+goodbyes

Each spring, approximately 10 percent of ASL’s 1350 community members do not return for the following school year. And each fall, those spaces are replaced with new faces.

With the transient nature of an international school, saying goodbye is inevitable. Both students and faculty experience frequent change, whether it be a close friend moving, a teacher relocating, or a peer graduating. It is often difficult to acknowledge that with a physical distance, friendships and connections are affected.

Especially during these last few days before the school year comes to a close, this Editorial Board believes it is important to discuss what it means to leave a community, individual or thought behind, and how to welcome what comes in its place.

This year, alongside the graduating class and other departures from ASL, Principal Jack Phillips is leaving the school. Our community, as it is right now, will never be the same again. In a recent interview with The Standard, Phillips recognized the merit in saying goodbye well, and we, as an Editorial Board, wholeheartedly agree. While we are saying goodbye to many faces, we are being given the opportunity to welcome new ones.

Many of us have built a strong relationship with at least one person who won’t be at ASL next year. Although admittedly difficult, we must acknowledge that our connection with this person will never be the same as it is right now.

It is the acceptance of this change that the Editorial Board believes makes a community strong. At a young age, we learn how to maintain and appreciate connections. Every year we are experiencing the reality of life, in that as international students, we must know how to deal with people leaving and relationships changing as a result.  

A portion of our community is made up of people who have moved from a different area to come to ASL. To thrive and enjoy living here, they have had to adapt to the change of leaving behind their old life, and with those leaving us, we must find the ability to adapt too.

Friendships take on a variety of forms throughout life, and they should not be seen as being cut off by relocations. Rather, taking change as it comes, they should be seen as entering a new stage. Strong connections hold through in hard times and saying goodbye is not necessarily the end.

While old friendships shift, new ones form. We are always learning to accept new people and new ideas, and no one leaves ASL without someone else coming in. While we cannot deny that exclusivity and cliques are apparent within the High School, we are still seeing new faces and hearing a mix of fresh voices at the start of each school year. A changing community means a changing social scene, and opportunities for new connections are often present.

When school reconvenes for 2018-2019, we will lose our current principal, some teachers and many students. However, it is the ever-transient nature of our school that makes our student body strong and resilient. We should welcome new students, teachers and administration as we always do. Change and goodbyes are inevitable, yet so are hellos.

Cartoon by Gaby Iwegbue.

If you missed the recent print edition of The Standard, where we interviewed Dr Phillips to discuss his legacy, you can view the print edition here.