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Andrew's Letter

On the occasion of the 30th Anniversary of Oneness-Family School, it is truly humbling think of the amazing journey it has been. OFS has been so much more than a job for me—it has been like a huge work of art that I began in 1988, and that myriad others contributed their distinct brush strokes to in the next few decades. The very first years of the school were filled with great excitement, energy, and sometimes exhaustion. We had only two full-time employees, including myself, and sometimes I was so tired I would lie down and take a nap with the youngest students.

As the school was so small, we could be totally flexible. On beautiful spring days we could stay outside for a couple hours and just play games. We could also decide on the spur of the moment to go on a field trip into DC or to a nature trail.  We took longer trips to New England and camped at my Uncle Joe's farm, where my mother cooked for us, and we also visited a sister school in New Hampshire. 

Our very first year we rented space in what is now Tilden Middle School; our whole school fit into the library space of that building. We then found a home at St. John's Episcopal Church in 1989, where our community has spent the past twenty-nine years. As we expanded over the years, the partnership with the congregation of St. John's became more and more appreciated, and we are particularly grateful to the rectors and vestry leadership who supported the school as tenants over these many years.

Looking back on our earliest parents, it is amazing to think of how much they embraced the vision of OFS, how much they trusted me, and how much they supported the school in so many ways —by volunteering in classrooms or driving on trips, by putting up flyers, by building or repairing equipment, and in countless other ways. Without their trust and support, OFS would never have been able to take hold.

Indeed, this tradition of partnership between parents and the school became a hallmark of our development over the years, as generations of parents gave their ideas, expertise, creativity, and time to making the school more successful and the community richer and more vibrant. Today, several former parents continue to serve the school as members of the school’s Board of Trustees, while so many others continue to be sounding boards or provide connections and resources to benefit the school’s growth.

As I think of all the students who have come through the halls of the school, I see so many faces, so many young, developing personalities. I always strived to instill in OFS teachers that our biggest goal was to help our students discover and develop their gifts and to empower them to dream of a future where they’d be able to share those gifts with the world.  To follow the stories of our students after they graduated OFS has truly been one of my greatest joys.

If a life well lived is defined by finding a purpose bigger than oneself and giving oneself to that purpose, then my life as founder of Oneness-Family School has been truly a great gift. My life has been touched by so many amazing people as a result of building this school. I’ve had the chance to feel that I’ve made a rare and tangible difference in the world. As I look ahead to the next 30 years of OFS, I feel a deep sense of gratitude as well as great hope for what lies ahead.  

Wednesday, May 22, 2019