Looking Back on Key's 50th Anniversary Year

A Message from Marcella Yedid


Capturing the essence of Key School’s 50th year is difficult. Throughout last year, we, of course, offered our students the typically stimulating activities that have shaped life on campus since 1958. We engaged minds, and, in the process, inspired ideas. Whether in classrooms, athletic fields or performance spaces, we remained mindful of individual curiosity, talent and creativity, honoring and encouraging them. The quotidian of 2008-2009, though, did not overshadow the School’s milestone anniversary, with its due retrospection, celebration and aspiration.

I shall not forget our 50th year opening of school faculty/staff meetings that reinforced, through discussion and experience, our common purpose and commitment to the five-decade-old Key School Mission. The heavy, humidity-laden, August atmosphere on that first Monday morning did not deter my small group of colleagues from enjoying our selected canoe voyage on a limpid Bay, while probing the meaning of starting another school year and its priorities. Nor did these climatic conditions deter us from acknowledging the legacy that is ours, as the current practitioners of an extraordinary educational vision.

Equally compelling was Key’s Head of School October picnic and other complementary weekend events, rendered buoyant by reunions of alumni, parents of alumni, as well as “retired” trustees. For these occasions, we invited to campus one of the three legendary Key School founders­—the irrepressible Tom Simpson, as intellectually alive today, well in his 80s, as he was as a young, intrepid visionary about to establish a new school in Annapolis, all based on “the idea of a school.” Still able to generate countless interesting notions connecting students of all ages to the world around them—for education clearly is about making meaning—Tom interacted with Pre-School and Upper School students. They planted gardens together, talked about the Bay, and pursued simple and complex thoughts about citizenship within a global, inter-connected village.

Winter fare, for virtually every month was “embroidered” with a special occasion, brought to campus renowned journalist Sam Donaldson as guest speaker and raconteur par excellence of the Washington scene; and the seminar “America as a Community,” as depicted through iconic images. Both prompted the exploration of wide-ranging ideas, from politics to art, history and culture, offering students and guests an opportunity to experience “Keyesque” intellectual stimulation. Thanks to these occasions and many more, including a memorably affirming February reunion of parents of alumni and a culminating photo shoot capturing 800 or so Obezags, we reinforced a school credo: as important as is each individual, our strength comes from our community and its values. As the saying goes: e pluribus unum, or out of many, one! We so believe in that healthy symbiosis between individual and community.

Key’s 50th rightfully generated pride-filled retrospection while also focusing ambitious aspiration. Remembering the noble vision surrounding our founding, we have also taken note of the imperative of ongoing audacity in thinking about the future. It is that audacity that translates into apt innovation as we serve the students of today and tomorrow. Whether manifest in programs that foster sensitivity to diverse perspectives, appreciation for cultural differences, knowledge of emerging geo-political realities with their attendant historical underpinnings, ecological stewardship, as well as a penchant for service-oriented, responsible citizenship, that audacity drives the inspiration for continuing programmatic dynamism.

As we at The Key School now look ahead to our centennial, we hope that the legacy we are building will deserve the following byline in 2058-2059: 100 years of service to the greater Annapolis community with an incomparable educational experience for those committed to learning to learn—for life!

With this message, I also take the opportunity to thank the countless individuals whose generous support of time, expertise and resources has enabled us to continue on our journey, begun in 1958, defining and redefining “the idea of a school.” We shall continue to “dwell in possibilities.”

Written in The Key Review - 50th Anniversary Issue 2008-2009.


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