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Bears Repeating

“Well, who doesn’t want the spring after the long winter?”
 — Mary Oliver

As we embrace the arrival of spring, the change of season brings light and hope to so much around us. The starkness of winter’s gray gives way to the vibrant hues of spring. Nesting and blooming replace dormancy. The season signals renewal and new beginnings. 

Yet, while we marvel at this transformation, the turning of the calendar compels us to think back on the mileposts and memories of each season passed. What were we doing this time last year? What thoughts filled our minds? 

The last week in March holds a somber significance for our Nashville community. We all changed on March 27, 2023, when our city was added to the list of hundreds of communities that have experienced the horrors of a school shooting. The memory of tragedy at The Covenant School still feels palpable. Our collective grief and sorrow are as present and as powerful.

At this one-year milestone, our reflections draw us closer to one another. We experience a feeling of communal understanding and strength through the shared memory. We pause to be kinder and more loving. Still, I am acutely aware that for the families of the Covenant community, this period of remembrance is not confined to just a week or a single day. For them, every day brings its own anniversaries.  A birthday, a holiday, the first day of school. A cherished family trip. A favorite dessert. A reminder to clean a messy room, an afternoon walk with the dog, a movie night with friends. Moments both routine and monumental stir memories. Despite our deepest empathy, we can never fully know the depth of emotions that permeate the days, hours, and minutes of those most closely affected.

We were transformed on the morning of March 27. The tragedy broadened and deepened our list of worries. We all became more fearful after that day. As we navigate this changed landscape of safety and well-being, we search for a guidepost. Each time I search, I find direction from our girls. They are much more resilient than we are. They take in the grief and the loss, and even when they are unshielded from the realities of the world, they move forward with hope and an understanding that they will create a better future. Their incredible and undeniable ability to embrace the present moment helps us choreograph our response. If we pay attention, our girls remind us to never miss the opportunity to connect with each other. They always show us that we should continue our journey of learning and growth.

Our students remind us to collect the lessons from the past and resist inertia. Looking around us, we cannot deny the potential for renewal or a new beginning. “Who doesn’t want the spring?”

Jess Hill

A dedicated educator with more than two decades of independent school experience, Jess understands what constitutes excellence in all-girls education. Through her expertise and leadership, Jess cultivates a school community that fosters academic curiosity and prepares girls to become purposeful young women prepared to challenge themselves and change the world for the better.

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