Good Trouble & Light

July 24, 2020 - By Melissa Carroll, Head of School

The stillness of dawn is one of my favorite times of day. It is the moment when daylight peaks above the horizon, the nasturtium blossoms unfold, and the collective energy of the world awakens.This week, the events on the news, as well as happenings on campus seemed to mirror these passionate stirrings and provide momentum toward progress.

I was saddened to hear of the passing of John Lewis, and reminded of his inspiring and tireless work for social justice and against systemic racism. I listened to the replaying of his speeches and was humbled by his messages,


"You are a light. You are the light. Never let anyone — any person or any force — dampen, dim or diminish your light … Release the need to hate, to harbor division, and the enticement of revenge. Release all bitterness. Hold only love, only peace in your heart, knowing that the battle of good to overcome evil is already won."


His message is one we aspire to each day at Princeton Friends. As a Quaker community we refer to the light and goodness in all and challenge each other to be courageous in our earnest to serve others. John Lewis’s legacy is one that requires us to learn from experience, put bold words into action, and serve others with unwavering commitment. My hope is that we will renew our commitment to carry his work forward and lead with light.

On campus, there has been a different kind of momentum and progress. We are engaged in a flurry of summer work to prepare the buildings and grounds for our return. Hanna Bettner ‘10, Sarah Stryker ‘05, Don Stryker, and Drew Furtak have been cleaning, painting, and preparing spaces. Each time I walk through the buildings, there is an increase in light that accompanies joyful and spirited conversation.

Additionally, the administrative team has been meeting and planning. We are developing plans for program, operations, and health and safety procedures. We are testing out flexible arrangements and proactively developing scenarios and plans.

Last week, I shared the initial plans for our return to campus. Many of you reached out with gratitude and enthusiasm for the communication and plans. We have also received your good questions and suggestions.

As we get closer to the start of school, we will be sharing more specific details with you. I will be hosting a Q&A session by Zoom on August 5 at 7:00pm for all families. You will receive an invitation to the meeting through email soon. I welcome your questions in advance of the meeting, so that I can prepare and moderate efficiently and equitably.

Prior to the meeting, we expect to share a video to introduce the new health and safety routines and familiarize your children in anticipation of their return to campus. Additionally, we are preparing a welcome packet for all families. You will receive this in the mail during the first week of August.

Please save the date of September 8 for our Welcome Day. This day is set aside for families to come to campus to experience a “soft opening”. We will send a schedule in advance that will provide you with a specific arrival and departure time so that we can stagger the visits and maintain health and safety protocols. A professional photographer will be on campus that day to take outdoor school pictures and family portraits.

As you enjoy these long, light-filled days of July, my hope is that you begin to feel a sense of renewed energy and hope. In anticipation of the days ahead and in the spirit of John Lewis, we have much work to do and “good trouble” to get into.

Be well,

Melissa Carroll

Head of SchoolPrinceton Friends School