So What Now? A Letter to My Students

A Letter from Mr. Garry Sullivan, Head of Upper and Middle Schools

Good evening students, I know the message you received from Mr. Lester yesterday was not what you, or any of us, would have wanted to hear. Online learning will continue for the rest of the school year. As difficult as it was to read, know that it was incredibly difficult for him to write.

To my Senior Class of 2020 – We can’t begin to understand the emotions you are experiencing about your senior year being stripped away from you during your last semester of high school. If you’re sad, angry, or unsure, please know that you are well within your rights to feel that way. We feel those same feelings for and with you all. The teachers who pour their heart and soul into everything they do will not get to say their last goodbyes before you head off to the next adventures and chapters of your lives. Your parents don’t get to share in the memories and moments that traditionally come along with this time of year in a senior’s life. Your peers don’t get to give you the sendoff that you deserve. So what now…?

To my 8th-grade students – You might not be a high school senior, but so much of what I wrote above applies to you also. You don’t get to finish your middle school years at school with your friends or teachers. Instead, you’ll be required to move on to Upper School without that closure. This is no easier for you or your families, and I don’t want to minimize your emotions either. So what now…?

To all Middle and Upper School Students – There are so many “lasts” that you won’t get to enjoy. From sports, to fine arts, to academic achievements, to social experiences, and the list can be exhausting and overwhelming. Those of us in education are in it for two reasons. First, we care about each and every student, and ultimately, this is what keeps us going. Second, we know that the future rests on the youth of today, and you will one day be responsible for keeping this world turning. You are remarkable. So what now…?

So what is needed now? GRIT!

What is it? If it’s not IQ, and if it’s not luck, then what exactly is grit? In short:“…the tenacious pursuit of a dominant superordinate goal despite setbacks.”

Will Smith once said, “I’ve never viewed myself as particularly talented. Where I excel is ridiculous, sickening work ethic.”

How fitting is it that we chose this for our Middle and Upper school theme this year. We did this not knowing that it would be so important, now more than ever. We all have choices to make right now. We can dwell on the lost experiences, the social gatherings we’re missing out on, the birthday parties, the sporting events, etc. that won’t take place, OR we make a decision to get up, make your beds, and change the world!

Don’t get me wrong; you are justified in feeling the way you do. I feel some of the same disappointments that you do. I know it’s easier said than done, but I also know this: you are resilient and you will turn this into your success story! We will get through this together and come out stronger on the other side. Your generation is required to be more flexible and able to navigate so many various challenges while at the same time showing compassion and strength. We have an incredible opportunity to do great things during this time and to appreciate the small things. I know this time will reveal just how fortunate we are to be part of the Brookstone community. Let’s use this to truly be the change we want to see in the world. Let’s continue putting the needs of others before our own; let’s work hard, get back up, and continue showing everyone Why Brookstone!

I am so proud of each and every one of you, your parents, and your teachers. This is only the beginning of what is going to be a remarkable story when we are finally able to get back together and celebrate. This is not an easy time, but in the meantime, show the GRIT I know you possess.





Garry Sullivan

Head of Middle & Upper School

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