Director of Athletics, Assistant Head of School, Residential Life, and Co-Curriculars
Have you ever wondered how long it takes to become a pilot?
There are different requirements for various types of pilot’s licenses, but to specifically become a commercial airline transport pilot, the FAA requires over 1500 hours of training. It can take years to accomplish this and there’s good reason for such a significant requirement.
Commercial pilots must be trusted to transport human lives safely, regardless of conditions, with or without a visible horizon.
The horizon is an apparent line separating the earth from the sky. It divides all viewing directions based on whether it intersects earth’s surface or not. For most of us, that view is important. The visible horizon provides valuable information about what lies ahead of us. Without it, we can lose our bearings and drift off course.
When a pilot ‘loses their horizon’, they simply rely on those 1500 hours of training. They transition in the cockpit to flying with instruments, able to safely navigate the darkness or cloud cover, continuing on towards their destination with conviction. In other words, they can make decisions not based on what they see, but on what they know to be true.
We will all remember the year 2020 for as long as we live. The year of the COVID-19 global pandemic. The year all the instruments in the cockpit stopped working. We were left to fly blind.
It all seemed to happen so fast last spring. Travel paused, learning and working from home, no congregating, everything cancelled, masks, disinfecting, distancing…it was surreal.
And to make matters worse, many of our ‘instruments’, our tried and true decision-making criteria, were no longer dependable. How could we problem-solve responsibly with so little information? How could we function safely and know what was healthy with so much changing each week? For many, many months now we’ve lived in these questions, navigating our pathways carefully, with very little confidence about what lay ahead of us.
The experience has tested us. It’s been exhausting emotionally and physically and socially. It’s forced us to accept and adapt to a new normal that we despise, one that involves morning temperature checks and health screenings and quarantining, one that’s minimized the connectivity our AOA community normally thrives on.
At times during the past year, we’ve lost faith in both what we see and what we know. Truly a worst case scenario, even for the most well-trained pilots among us.
‘If I cease searching, then, woe is me, I am lost. That is how I look at it. Keep going, keep going, come what may’ -Vincent van Gogh
We have kept going. We’ve put one foot in front of the other, day after day, all doing the best we could, embracing the ambiguity, betting on ourselves, and believing we would come out of this stronger as a school.
There’s something happening now. We’ve trusted the process and it’s finally paying off.
After a full year of adjusting to protocols, working together through the remote and hybrid learning, dealing with the disruptions and contact tracing and zoom meetings...our flight instruments are coming back to life.
Sure it’s currently February and freezing outside, but the promise of approaching spring weather and sunshine and warmth is comforting. Welcome thoughts about baseball, softball, tennis and fresh air and getting back outside are coming alive in our minds. Vaccinations are becoming increasingly available and will continue to roll out to the public more each month. Regaining some sort of our normalcy, which once felt like a dream, is starting to feel more and more possible. Optimism is growing.
THE SUMMER SOLSTICE
Sunday, June 20th is the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. Each year, this June solstice occurs, marking the official start of summer in the northern hemisphere. It is a day many look forward to annually, but this year is different.
It’s not just about enjoying the sunshine or the longer evenings outside. This year it will be about something much more important.
Summer 2021 is about the return of our horizon.
It’s about getting back on course, finding our way again, and re-calibrating our path forward. It’s about taking what we’ve learned and making plans safely and responsibly to reconnect with our community again.
This summer at AOA, our students will have a full menu of safe, fun camp options to choose from. Reconnect with us. Plug back in. We can’t wait to see your student in June.
The horizon has returned.
AOA summer camp details will go out early March in the school newsletter and on social media. Registration will soon be available on the school website.