With the end of the year approaching, the conversations at school are beginning to turn to the upcoming graduation ceremonies. We’re excited by the prospect of celebrating our Kindergarten, 5th, and 8th graders in June. It’s one of my favorite moments of the year; I love the mix of joy at cheering on our students’ success, pride in what they have achieved, and nostalgia–particularly when it comes to students leaving us for high school–at the passing of time and the sensation of another page being turned. If I’m being completely honest, I tend to shed a tear or two.

That said, I have no idea how I am going to react this afternoon (I’m writing this letter on Friday morning) because I have to take a few hours off to attend another, very special graduation ceremony. Usually, on Friday afternoons, I oversee the Middle School assembly, then I help Benoît at the E & MS door at dismissal, before meeting Ben for a review of the week at Maternelle. Finally, I make a few slight adjustments to this letter. But none of that will happen this afternoon because I will be at Radio City Hall to celebrate Andria’s graduation with a master’s in translation. It’s been a slow-burning project–one that she initially undertook when we arrived in New York in the fall of 2020–when she had a visa that allowed her to study but not to work. Back then, she had a lot of time on her hands–something that has seriously changed since she joined The École!

You know Andria as the person at the door in the morning, the one who puts the children on the bus in the afternoons, who invented, writes, and sends you the Memo every Monday, who lingers behind almost every mailing list (medical forms, events, bus, lunch etc.), who draws up the handbooks for parents, supervises the filming of our promotional videos, who covers everything that happens at school and shares photos and videos on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, who tries to keep the website up to date,  who organizes Picture Day, International Day, and Field Day (and other events I’m probably forgetting!), who prepares the birthday display for our Elementary and Middle School students (coming next year to Maternelle!), who liases with Little Green Gourmets, and Untold Horizons, who puts together the yearbook, works with TÉPA and the DOH nurses, who manages certain aspects of my calendar, prepares the slides for our presentations, formats our emails, supervises recess, brings the 5th graders their lunch, is the one who probably knows the answer to any questions you might have–to the degree that there is a rumor circulating among the students that she’s the real head of school (a rumor I take on the chin).

On top of all that, Andria has brilliantly completed a master’s at NYU (she literally finished last week!) I don’t know where she draws the strength or finds the energy for it, but I am happy to report that after more than 20 years by her side, she continues to stun me with her talent and intelligence. Every day, she dedicates herself to the readers of this letter, but today, she will be taking part in a ceremony that she won’t have organized!

It’s a little tricky for me to fully express here my admiration and gratitude for everything Andria does every day. As you know, besides everything else, she also translates this letter every Friday, so I can only imagine how much she’s blushing right now. All I will say is that I am immensely proud of her. For her master’s and for everything else.