Reason for Hope

by Head of Upper School Colleen Welsh

On May 1, 2017, I had the privilege of watching my son-in-law become an American citizen.  As I sat in US District Court, I was moved by the 36 individuals who had worked so hard to become citizens.  Their faces reflected 36 distinct stories and histories and I felt a profound sense of gratitude that our country would be enriched by each one.  The courtroom was filled with hope; the participants’ hopes for their lives and my hope that we as a people would support and nourish their dreams.

The judge presiding over the ceremony encouraged these new citizens to not only vote but to get involved; join campaigns, work for issues that mattered to them, be active in their churches, mosques, and synagogues, volunteer at their local schools and agencies, write to their representatives and support their local communities.  In essence, he was asking them to be responsible citizens. 

The hope that I felt in that courtroom, I feel on a regular basis in my role working with the students at Pike.  They too, are just beginning on their journey to understand how to get involved, express their views and opinions, support causes that matter to them, support each other and speak up when the values of their community are infringed upon or violated.

Over the course of this year, I have listened in classes when students were engaged in discussions about justice and equity, watched students support a peer in need, bring attention to community organizations that need their help, volunteer to work on behalf of the school community at PA events, carry out the school recycling and composting program, join service groups like CARE, Big Green, and Student Council, and speak to adults about difficult issues that impact their peer relationships and learning environment.  I do not have the space to list all that has occurred this year and I am sure each adult who tirelessly supports students as they grow into responsible citizenship could add more.

I am sure that the adults that I watched becoming US citizens will face challenges as they practice this new role, so do our students.  While the journey is not always smooth and learning from mistakes can be difficult, the development of our students as they move through Pike fills me with hope.  Hope for our community and hope for our country’s future.   Pike’s mission clearly states that we seek to develop responsible citizens.  I can tell you from my ringside seat, we are doing just that.

The Pike School is an independent, coed, day school for Pre-K through ninth grade in Andover, Massachusetts. Visit to learn more about Pike – and visit our blog for more thought leadership. To learn more about admission to The Pike School, visit our Admission page


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2 Comments on “Reason for Hope
  1. Awesome spotlight on the many ways responsible citizenship continues to be built in Upper School, Colleen. Thanks for making this valuable connection to your own family’s experience and the Pike community’s good work.

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