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There’s No Place Like Home

September 28, 2011

This past weekend our family took a ride to Ithaca, NY, where I grew up.  Since graduating from high school, I went away to college and have not lived in Ithaca since.  As a family, we make it back to our hometown two to three times per year.  My parents still live in the house where I spent the latter half of my childhood, and each trip back I find myself soccerwandering through my old room – glancing at pictures, books, and old clothes.  Looking out my old window onto the yard where I hit thousands of rocks with a stick into the woods, the memories of my time as a child and teenager always come back to me in vivid color, eliciting strong emotions.

There is something about a hometown visit that centers you.  Home can mean lots of things to lots of people, but the idea of home certainly brings a sense of connection and stability to our lives.  Childhood memories are strong because the people and events that were crucial to our formation as individuals dominate those memories.

This brings to mind the concept of school as home.  Of course, nothing can ever take the place of a home or family unit, but children do spend a significant amount of time in school during their growing years.  Indeed, as I think back to my schooling, people and events flood to mind, and it seems like those memories will be etched on my brain for eternity.

grade 3 girlsJust like a home, great schools – among other functions – create memories for children that will last a lifetime.  I distinctly remember in fourth grade playing the old computer game Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego, and there is no doubt that game helped foster my love of history and social studies.  At different points in our schooling, adults and mentors recognized our interests, and they took time to foster those interests and created opportunities for learning.  In short, they gave us lasting memories that later serve as a force of stability and nostalgia in our lives.

Classroom experiences, school functions, and interactions with teachers and classmates without a  doubt create memories that will last a lifetime.  It is so important that schools recognize this and work to create these opportunities for kids.  We are shaping the lives of people for years to come, and at Swain we understand this and take this responsibility seriously.

This year marks our 82nd year of operation as a small, non-profit, independent day school in the Lehigh Valley.  We are a solid, grounded institution in the Valley, but walk the hallways even for fifteen minutes and you will see that we are far from institutional-like.  From Founder’s Day, to the third grade wax museum, to enjoying Asian cuisine in fifth grade, to annually reading To Kill a Mockingbird in eighth grade, the list of events that create memories for a lifetime is long.  Join us this year in celebrating school life and partner with us to celebrate the old and indoctrinate the new.  Join us in creating memories that will shape our leaders of the future.

Thank you for a tremendous start to the 2011-2012 academic year.  We are pleased to work with your children on a daily basis, and we look forward to a year of collaboration, growth, and lifelong learning!

Book Recommendation

Where Men Win Glory, by Jon Krakauer.  Author of Into Thin Air does it again with this stirring account of Pat Tillman, a professional football player who left nine million dollars on the table to serve in the military.


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  1. Julia Getty permalink

    We came to Swain just for preschool. We stayed because, once we were here, we couldn’t imagine watching our daughter grow up anywhere else. Sounds like home to me.

  2. Robert J Wagner permalink

    I love and agree with the messages here. However, I am mostly excited about the title of this entry!!

  3. Nicolas Elisabeth permalink

    For people like us, foreigners living abroad for a few years, a school like Swain give our kids and us a lot of memories that we will bring back in our country and give us the opportunity to feel integrated in a new country.

  4. Maggie Werner permalink

    Its probably not a surprise but Swain is like home to me, especially now that my grandchildren are here too and will find out for themselves what Swain means to them.

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