Page 4 - FIS World December 2020
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 The Heroes Among Us
Here they come to save the day
Heroes come in all shapes and sizes
Like many children, I grew up following the ad- ventures of superheroes. First in comic books and then later on the movie screen, I watched Wonder
Woman, Black Panther, The Incredible Hulk and others fight for justice and save the world from countless threats. Like many of our students last month, my childhood Halloween costumes were often of the heroes I admired for their strength, compassion and courage.
When the Covid-19 pandemic struck our world this year, new heroes emerged. There were medical professionals risking their own lives in hospitals overflowing with patients and scientists tirelessly working on a vaccine. World leaders and local politicians alike risked their popularity and careers to implement health and safety protocols that were not necessarily popular, but undoubtedly saved lives.
In our own school, I witnessed heroic efforts from our teachers as they responded with professional agility when our Distance Learning Plan (DLP) was imple- mented practically overnight, and I continue to be awed at their perseverance and innovation in deliv- ering a world-class learning experience to students under an entirely new set of parameters.
Our students have continued to demonstrate their adaptability and dedication to learning, both on our campuses and during periods of distance learning, proving that they are capable of rising to any challenge presented to them. FIS parents also have gone above and beyond in holding to our FIS safety standards and communicating openly when a positive case of Covid- 19 surfaces. They have also come up with creative ways to keep our community connected, hosting virtual book clubs and other “master class” series, and organizing physically-distanced forest walks.
I wanted to somehow recognize the fact that I was witnessing acts of heroism every day during this pandemic and earlier this school year, came across the perfect item: superhero face masks. I now greet students coming off the bus while wearing one of the many superhero masks I have added to my collection. On occasion, a younger student will stop and make a comment like, “I have Superman pajamas” or “I have a Wonder Woman cape at home”; several older students and colleagues have commented on my obsession with the legends of comic books.
While the masks have certainly been good conversation starters, I am often smiling behind them because of the deeper meaning they hold for me. They are my tribute to the heroes, both within our own community and around the world, who continue to approach the biggest challenge our world has faced in the last half century with determination, adaptability and compassion. It reminds me that super heroes were not meant to be just imaginary characters, but models for us as well.
Although we can’t all be working in a lab to develop a vaccine or in an operating room saving lives, all of us can do our part by maintaining a sense of gratitude and smiling beneath our masks. Smiling because our strength as an FIS community will allow us to overcome this current challenge and because each of us has the opportunity to spread a bit of joy to support the healing our world so needs.
So...“Up Up and Away!”
Dr. Paul M. Fochtman Head of School
 2 FIS World December 2020

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