October 30, 2020

Dear Gould Community,

Strong relationships are what make Gould special; our foundation is built with care, sustained by mutual respect and kindness. With less than one week to go, we recognize the upcoming national election is beginning to add to the stress of an already challenging year. I assure you that as the results of Tuesday, November 3, roll out, we are a community grounded in high expectations for decency and composure, empathy, and understanding. 

I know this to be true, because I have witnessed the best of our Gould community this fall. I have sat with our weekly election forums, listening to students—who are friends, classmates, and roommates and also on opposite sides of the political spectrum—come together with respect and civility. I have heard them reaffirm their desire to always remain friends and to support one another, regardless of how high the volume or how much noise the political parties try to create. Our DEI, Civil Rights, and YAF clubs have come together this year to talk through the issues and to seek understanding, not judgement. These students inspire us with a renewed sense of urgency for our roles as educators and hope for a better future.

Some students have asked, what does Gould want to see on November 4? The school does not endorse a candidate or party but respectfully supports our community members and guides our students, who all come from diverse backgrounds, as they develop a sense of self. Our job is to help young adults define personal values, allowing each to express what matters in a respectful and articulate manner. 

Our expectations are that there will be no “touchdown” celebrations, no crowing, gloating, or mocking of others. Instead, we will treat each other with civility and respect. Whatever the outcome, individuals in this community will experience a wide range of emotions, including disappointment, elation, sadness, relief, confusion, despondency, and hope, among others. As friends, roommates, classmates, teammates, colleagues, teachers, coaches, dorm parents, advisors, and administrators, in the aftermath of this election we will look to care for and lift up each other first. And, we will spend time as a community in discussion and deliberation of the common good, dedicating ourselves here to the long arc of history and committing to our role in the formation of a better world.

Regardless of who wins the presidential election or control of congress, we are one school and one community. We all desire peace. We all wish to live in a world that believes in the transformative power of education and the fundamental right for all schools to be a place of safety, security, and inspiration. 

With humility and hope,
Tao Smith ’90, P’23
Head of School
“So, let us not be blind to our differences—but let us also direct attention to our common interests and to the means by which those differences can be resolved. And if we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's future. And we are all mortal.”
― John F. Kennedy