Sea Crest School staff, students and their families dived into the first day of school with a lively assembly on Wednesday. By Sara Hayden. Published in the Half Moon Bay Review on August 30th, 2017.
“It’s really a day of excitement for everybody,” Head of School Tekakwitha M. Pernambuco-Wise said, recalling her own love of the occasion as a child. “My heart was just bursting with joy this morning. It reminded me of how excited I was to start school.”
In some ways, the back-to-school festivities started before the first bell. Residents of the Half Moon Bay senior community dropped by at 6:30 a.m. to decorate with colorful handmade paper flowers and signs for the students.
New Student Council President Olivia Cevasco greeted members of the community dressed as a seal, the school’s mascot, ensured posters welcomed the community in the school’s halls and left every student a handwritten welcome note in their cubbies and lockers. The eighth-grader penned them herself, inspired by similar gestures by last year’s student council members.
“It really touched me when every person had a couple encouraging words for the day,” said Cevasco.
She said she felt compelled to continue fostering that sense of community.
Since Pernambuco-Wise came on board at Sea Crest in 2013, the staff has challenged itself to think about how to take the “school from good to great, from infancy to maturity.” Much of that focus has been on innovation.
“It’s about the mindset. It’s about how we approach solving problems … really engaging the pupils’ ownership in their learning,” Pernambuco-Wise said.
Driving that forward into the 2017-2018 school year is a central theme.
“(This is) ‘Our Year to Thrive. We’re taking on less so we can go deeper,” said Pernambuco-Wise, adding that school leaders will focus on the most effective ways to assess students, cultivate a sense of inclusion and how to take care of oneself.
As faculty, staff and students hit the books, they’ll also hit the yoga mats, a quiet moment to meditate or reflect, or another activity that takes them out of their headspace in the coming weeks.
“We’re now saying, ‘What do we need to do to thrive as human beings, and how can we translate that to the children?’” Pernambuco-Wise said.