The theme of community has been the focus for the 8th grade this year. While you have heard my classmates talk about their involvement in various types of communities, I would like to discuss the importance of how communities change and shift.

Communities work and operate in different ways. All of us are a part of Ridgefield Academy- we either go to school or work here. Ridgefield Academy as we know it today was probably very different 10 years ago. I couldn’t tell you what school was like here 10 years ago but over the last year I have definitely seen one of the most drastic redos.

March of last year we all went online, something we have never had to do before. This altered our community as we knew it. We were forced to see each other in a new way and had to work hard to be connected while at home. In a lot of ways this could have been seen as a devastating situation but, as a community, we remodeled and made the best of it. As we all tried to stay together and in touch, this tight-knit community was abundantly clear.

When we came back in September, it was very obvious that a lot had changed. Besides the wearing of masks and desks being 6 feet apart, there was a new feeling in the building. Every student and teacher has appreciated every second we have been in-person because we know it could reverse. Every change that occurs brings with it both good and bad. What determines the final outcome is the affected community and how its members react to it. Our school community took on the challenges faced by a global pandemic and adapted as necessary. The Dalai Lama once said,'' For change to happen in any community, the initiative must come from the individual.” Each one of us has a common goal. We took a situation filled with so much challenge and individually worked through it to ultimately better our community. We all have an opportunity to make a difference. Thank you!