Originally Published on LinkedIn Dec. 18th,2021
Friday, December 17th, was our last day at the Southern University of New Orleans. I arrived early, and it was eerily quiet. We finished with students the day before so that our teachers could organize, pack and prepare for the movers who were arriving on Monday. We started our day with a brief staff meeting that outlined expectations and procedures for the move. We were still operating a full day of school at our other campus, so many of our lower school staff had a full day with their students. Our early years will remain in the Camphor location, so they did not have to pack and move back to our original campus until August 2022.
The day presented with such a mix of emotions. There was excitement in the air. Staff and volunteers worked at a feverish pace to get everything organized, packed, cleaned up, and moved to the staging area. We started at 8 am, and everything was complete by 11:30. Most staff had already driven to the KFSS campus and set up their spaces. They just wanted to get back home after a very long and difficult journey.
After everyone had left, I sat for a moment, gathered myself, took a breath, and reflected. What we had accomplished was remarkable. We had lost our home, found a few temporary spots during crazy hours, found a long-term location, and finally were returning home. During all of this, we remained focused on learning and teaching and put aside personal challenges to serve our students. Honestly, I did not know whether to laugh or cry. We made it! I made it!
“Social support is not merely being in the presence of others. The critical issue is reciprocity: being truly heard and seen by the people around us., feeling that we are held in someone else’s mind and heart. For our physiology to calm, done, heal, and grow we need a visceral feeling of safety.” Bessel Van Der Kolk, The Body Keep the Score
As we head into the holiday break, I crave this connection to my family and friends. The safety of knowing that you have someone there to catch you if you fall. I have been surviving, but I have felt untethered for much of the time, without roots or a safety net. My team has been unbelievable, and the families in our community are so supportive. Still, they have all been dealing with their challenges and moving through the crisis in their way. The hardest thing of all through this crisis has been the feeling of isolation and loneliness. I have missed my tribe, community, people, and family.
We will return to the Kehoe-France Southshore Elise campus on January 3rd and receive our students on January 5th. There will still be challenges as we continue to navigate the challenges of safely running a school in a construction zone, but we will be home and together. There is comfort and safety in that!
Here’s to new beginnings!