Headmaster’s Newsletter

Update to Academy Families — November 18, 2021

Bell tower an flag
November 18, 2021

Dear St. Johnsbury Academy Families,


Warm greetings to all as we head into the Thanksgiving holiday next week and then look to finish the Fall 2021 semester as strong as possible. Remember that break for students is Monday 11/22 through Friday 11/26—boarding students should have their plans finalized, and day students should not be on campus unless doing an authorized school activity. I hope this substantial break will allow everyone to return with renewed energy and optimism for the final few weeks before the Holiday Break.


We have so much to be thankful for here at SJA; and at the top of that list is our powerful community of staff, faculty, students, and parents working together. I have asked folks here, and hope you will join us in this, to pause and express our gratitude for one another as we think about how we are all contributing to staying safe and school this year.


We are living through what is likely the most challenging time of our collective lives, and while this affects everyone a little differently, there’s no question that it affects everyone. So I particularly want to recognize the tremendous amount of extra work our faculty and staff are doing to keep this school going in a time when everything takes twice as long, is twice as complex, and takes a double dose of positivity. Our faculty and staff are often the ones providing that extra push to students and colleagues who need it. As a parent myself, I see that teachers and staff are caring for our students as if they were their own, and that is what makes this school special.


Despite the fact that COVID numbers in the region are as high as they’ve ever been, with everyone’s cooperation, we have done the right things to stay safe. While other schools have had to go remote for weeks at a time, once again this year we have been able to remain in session by following sensible rules. The good news is that this pandemic will end eventually–or at least we will figure out how to live with it so that we can bring back even more of the things we love and miss, and reconnect with each other. 


My hope is that after the Thanksgiving holiday, and especially in the next semester, we can start to find safe ways to gather in person and celebrate—already we know we’ll be seeing a concert or two, and some theater, all of which we’ve been waiting for eagerly. The more small steps we can take toward normalcy, the better we will all feel.


But in the meantime, let’s continue to give thanks—not just to feel thankful, but to express it to each other. I am convinced that it is how we will keep being encouraged, and how we can get through anything. Happy Thanksgiving!


Dr. Sharon Howell


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