Dear Trevor Community,
I vividly remember a science course in 6th grade: We had a textbook entitled “Adventures in Science,” the first chapter of which was riveting. It posed a number of questions, but one lives forever in my memory: What will you be doing in the year 2020?
Will you be piloting a rocket ship to Mars?
Will you have a flying car?
Will robots be a part of your day-to-day life?
As those of us from a certain generation who were enamored with rockets, my one major hobby (besides playing the guitar) was making model rockets and seeing how high I could fly them. I learned the pythagorean theorem by launching model rockets and determining how high they went. It's a calculation that I’m not sure I could make today, but I could when I was 11 or 12 (with a bit of help from my father).
It was in the context of these happy memories that I was moved by the launch of the Mars Rover, Perseverance, and its arrival at the orbit around Mars this past February. (I was also thrilled for our 5th graders who had the opportunity to attend a presentation by Kevin Liu
, a Trevor cousin of the Ma-Truong family and the lead structural engineer for the Mars Perseverance's mobility system.) Even more amazingly, a few weeks ago, the Rover moved on to the latest of its accomplishments: a technology demonstration to test the first powered flight on Mars via its helicopter, Ingenuity.
The authors of my 6th-grade textbook predicted a future that has not fully materialized. I wonder about the path of historical contingency in relation to America’s space exploration—meaning what events took history down a different path than it might otherwise have followed. While we haven’t yet physically stepped foot on Mars, I expect we will do so in our not so distant future, perhaps even within my lifetime.
This lesson of historical contingency came to mind again as we began planning to combine the A and B Middle School cohorts for this coming Monday. This decision was possible thanks to falling COVID-19 rates in New York City, as well as changes in social distancing protocols. All of these benchmarks, plus increased adult vaccination rates―and the potential for young adults to be vaccinated in the near future—have also led to promising changes beyond Trevor. Just yesterday, both the Governor and Mayor seemed to be on the same page regarding the stages of reopening the city to more commerce, entertainment, and camaraderie….a return to a new normal.
I confess that when Rebecca Damas presented her plan to parents earlier this week, I became quite emotional. These incremental changes represent huge progress. Maybe, just maybe, we are in a situation where life can begin to return to normal, perhaps an even better normal.
I am committed to having all Trevor students back together at school this fall. Most likely masked, with some social distancing requirements—but together. I am in awe of the maturity and optimism that our young people have shown during these times of partial distance and separation from family, friends, classmates, and teachers.
And I continue to be amazed at what the Trevor faculty and staff have accomplished this year. You have come together and accomplished the impossible with strength and grace. We have remained a community committed to ambitious academics, engaged students, and balanced lives for the young people in our charge. This week, as the country celebrates Teacher & Staff Appreciation, I honor and thank each of you.
We only have four more full weeks of school left before summer break. Let’s continue to work hard and make the most of our 150 hours together. We are delighted to be planning gatherings for all of our transition grade years—5th, 8th, and, of course, our seniors, who will graduate at Icahn Stadium on June 10th. To be in a position to gather in person to celebrate these milestones is humbling. While the future can still only be approximated, I am more hopeful than I have been in a very long time.
However, I close on a somber note. I would like to express our shared thoughts and prayers for our brothers and sisters in India, and all in our community who are personally connected to this part of the world. The devastation that COVID-19 is causing there is a terrible reminder of the precarious situation for humanity and all the work that remains to be done to rid the world of this virus.
Scott R. Reisinger
Head of School