Dear IAF Community, This week I had the good fortune of attending two holiday concerts.…
Dear Idyllwild Arts Community,
Tradition: “the transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation.”
In August, we welcomed our students back to campus to start a school year full of promise and hope. Each student at Idyllwild Arts comes with the passion and commitment to do their personal best and to make positive contributions to our broader community. There is no better way to activate that promise than to engage in the time-honored traditions that have been honed over the decades by students, teachers, and administrators.
If you live in Idyllwild, it is a familiar sight to see Academy families in town the night before campus opens. When morning drop-offs begin, caravans of cars turn down Tollgate Road and cross the bridge to campus to drop off children who are leaving home — often four years earlier than Mom and Dad had expected — to follow their dreams and attend a boarding arts high school.
The students, of course, have their own feelings and observations as they arrive on campus. They are nervous with the anticipation of finally meeting their roommates in person. They are given tours of campus and secretly think that they will never know their way around 205 acres. Auditions are held for placement classes in the arts and the talent of their classmates is astounding.
There’s a barbecue on Husch Field for nearly three hundred students whose emotions range from elation to anxiety to confidence. An acknowledgement of Cahuilla land, on which the school is located, and a blessing from the Cahuilla Bird Singers set Idyllwild Arts Academy apart from any other school they’ve known. By the end of the first week on campus, it’s clear that they have found their true peers and their home away from home.
Present among this year’s class are students from thirty different countries. Some students hardly know what to expect, after spending several months or even more than a year in virtual schooling. Socializing, making new friends, and collaborating with others may all have to be relearned as students experience real-time, face-to-face interactions with their peers.
At Idyllwild Arts we believe that art is the greatest teacher of humanity and that the practice of creativity, no matter the ultimate expression, hones each individual’s desire and ability to craft global change. Our Head of School, Marianne Kent-Stoll, has themed this school year Building a Community of Respect, and we look to every student, teacher, dorm parent, and administrator to play a role in making the Idyllwild Arts community the most vibrant and inclusive community it can be.
Each year, I express gratitude to the parents who have chosen Idyllwild Arts for their child’s education. I often say to parents that choosing Idyllwild Arts is not about the difference in schools but the difference in their child.
May the excitement that each student feels and the passion with which they pursue an education in the arts be the catalyst for the best school year ever.