The Class of 2021 enjoyed a special presentation from Dr. Michael Thompson, who spoke to the grads about the challenges they might be experiencing during the pandemic.
Dr. Thompson is an internationally recognized author, speaker, and psychologist, and he provided feedback and anecdotes relevant to the students' ongoing struggle. Although the talk was hosted over Zoom, he created a safe space and invited the boys to share their disappointments and concerns about what should be a celebratory year.
The session took place on Feb. 4 and was a powerful and emotional hour. "There's a lot of losses, there is some pain, and the pain keeps reoccurring because this isn't the year you wanted or imagined," Dr. Thompson said.
He asked the boys to reveal the hardest thing they'd faced during the pandemic. Here are some other their responses:
- Not seeing friends
- Uncertainty about the future
- Seeing the people I care about struggle
- Worrying about how long the pandemic will last
- Not playing sports
- Not being able to travel
- Lack of motivation and productivity
Dr. Thompson picked up on the lack of motivation as one of the key struggles facing students this year, especially during remote learning periods. (SAC was in a government-mandated closure at the time of this session, and all students were in remote learning.)
"You have to find something balances you out," he said, recommending something as simple as a daily walk from which to draw strength. He noted that for many boys, just being at St. Andrew's and learning on campus, like we are today, is a source of comfort and strength.
"We hope the boys found Dr. Thompson's key takeaway of finding their secret strength an impactful message and one to carry well beyond the close of this year," said Head of School, Mr. McHenry, who attended the session along with many staff and faculty members.
"I think we can all agree our graduating class has shown strength and resilience through these trying times, and we are extremely proud of them."Story by Julie Caspersen