Gray Matters, January 2022

Celebrating Founders, Families, and Our Future

On a January day in 1968, a small group of families gathered around a kitchen table with the intent to start a new school. It was there, with the agreed-upon merger of two existing institutions, one at Church of the Reformation, the other at Christ Church, that the seeds of Capitol Hill Day School (including the new school’s name) were planted. To provide the foundation on which to grow, these founding families also used this gathering to craft a vision for the new school:

“a quality education, a racially and economically diverse student body, a parent-governed school, and a relationship with the surrounding community and the city of Washington”

Last Saturday our community gathered for Founders’ Day. This now annual morning of service is one way we honor our founding families and their original vision for our school. Through two different projects, we made 1000 bags of trail mix and 700 muffins for Martha’s Table. In conjunction with this year’s Founders’ Day we also held an inaugural Families in Partnership Association (FiPA) event. In alignment with the FiPA mission, the event was a time for fun and connection. Families from across the grades played games and engaged in conversation in Garfield Park. Saturday morning was a fantastic celebration of our community past and present.

This weekend we pause to honor the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. I have long admired Dr. King for his commitment to justice and his belief in the power of love. Several years ago I came across an early piece of Dr. King’s writing and as a progressive educator gained further appreciation for the breadth of his intellect. Written in 1947 while an undergraduate student at Morehouse College, in an a college newspaper article entitled, The Purpose of Education (1947), King expresses the following:

“Education must enable one to sift and weigh evidence, to discern the true from the false, the real from the unreal, and the facts from the fiction.
The function of education, therefore, is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. But education which stops with efficiency may prove the greatest menace to society. The most dangerous criminal may be the man gifted with reason, but with no morals…
…We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character–that is the goal of true education. The complete education gives one not only power of concentration, but worthy objectives upon which to concentrate.”

For more than fifty years Capitol Hill Day School has grown into a strongly rooted educational environment. While I certainly am not intending to draw direct equivalency to Dr. King’s legacy, I humbly believe that teaching and learning at Capitol Hill Day School is grounded in a rich history. It is with tremendous pride and gratitude that I serve as Head of School.