Heart of the Hill

By Kim Barnes, Head of Early Childhood

“Dear White 8,
When I returned to my desk after our last HOH, the little flowering plant that you left on my desk made me both happy and grateful to be part of a community that cares. Thanks for such a thoughtful day-brightener!

Appreciatively,

Mr. Kasten”

Heart of the Hill has been a “living cog” on this campus for the past eighteen years. Simultaneously 1,400 students and employees move to classrooms all over campus for a few moments of service, games, conversation, or group traditions. Each of the 80 groups is comprised of students from various grade levels, such as White 8 has students from 2nd grade, 6th grade, and 10th grade. To this point in time, I have been with “my group” long enough to see two groups graduate.

Over the past couple of years, we (the adults in White 8) have given the responsibility of planning group activities to our group of upper schoolers. While some of the activities may be variations on projects we have done in past years, the projects that tend to be echoed deal with service and gratitude. This year in our February meeting the idea from one of the 10th graders was to thank the “Legends” on campus for each of their twenty-five years or more of service to Greenhill School. They wanted to use an idea we had used last year via designing flower pots, writing cards, and potting a flowering plant. These were a pleasant surprise! Of course, learning about each person who is a Legend and what his or her job entails gave the students a greater understanding of how this school works and the variety of jobs found on this campus.

Sometimes walking onto this campus or just driving by and seeing this vast parcel of land or being a small child and seeing the many Lower Schoolers on the playground at the same time can be overwhelming. There are many people, many buildings, and big spaces on this campus. Yet through events such as Heart of the Hill, this campus becomes a little smaller and a lot tighter. During these times the campus “cog” becomes family as people are the Heart of the Hill.

Can You Really Teach Relentless Effort?

By Chad Wabrek, Head of Athletics & Physical Education

For as long as I can remember, Middle and Upper School athletics have always been full of champions, terrific teams, and unbelievable coaches. Likewise, for as long as I can remember, Middle and Upper School athletics have also been full of runner ups, struggling teams, and embattled coaches. But there is always one constant in athletics – willing student-athletes – and knowing that Greenhill offers an environment for these individuals to be part of a team, it begs the question – can you take a captive audience of willing student-athletes and teach them the true meaning and value of Relentless Effort? At Greenhill the answer is YES, and we do so with a focus on responsibility, determination, and teamwork.

Responsibility: A successful student at Greenhill knows that coming to school, participating in class, adhering to school rules, and doing homework are basic expectations. It is HOW WELL you do what is expected of you that will determine your school-day success. Our student-athletes know this is at the core of their daily life here, and our coaches model this same responsibility in planning practices, executing game strategy, and developing team chemistry. We expect more than just effort; we expect relentless effort.

Determination: We constantly remind our student-athletes that effort is a choice – anybody can simply show up – so in line with our standard of excellence at Greenhill, we expect relentless effort all the time from our student-athletes. Using this as our foundation, we couple this with a growth mindset approach to everything we do, which includes daily challenges and constant feedback. We firmly believe that perfect practice makes permanent, and to achieve this goal, it relies on a particular approach, which at Greenhill is rooted in relentless effort.

Teamwork: Trying as hard as you can every day can be a lonely experience if those around you are not doing the same thing. Athletic endeavors tend to be rather public, available for everyone to see. Someone is always watching, yet we often hear that character is revealed when no one is watching, and at Greenhill, we explain that if individuals on a team play with relentless effort, then Together Everyone Achieves More (TEAM), which says a lot about each individual and who they are. In turn, an individual’s character is revealed when everyone is watching.

The roots of relentless effort are established in the Middle School, and we acknowledge one such individual from each team at the end of every season. Yet we often see the true value of relentless effort in the Upper School because the challenge of HOW we play from start to finish is HOW we gain an opponent’s respect and HOW we justify the importance of this Greenhill athletic standard.

We have a greater responsibility to do more, and relentless effort allows every Greenhill student-athlete to begin a playbook for life.

With Hornet Passion and Pride,

Chad A. Wabrek
Head of Athletics and Physical Education