Gratitude and Going Forward: Our Future at Post Oak

Rona Yoffe Sonabend, P '28, P '30

Many of you, like me, I presume, were looking forward to 2021 with unbridled enthusiasm and promise. Ready to relinquish the exhaustion brought on in the recent year by the COVID pandemic, social injustice, and political turmoil, I found myself waiting in anticipation of what may come. Now a month into the new year, I find myself less future-focused, but rather more nostalgic about the year behind us.

I realize this may sound crazy to many of you, especially those who know me as a physician leader or have witnessed firsthand the challenges, emotional and physical, endured by our healthcare workers throughout the pandemic. To say anything remotely positive regarding 2020 seems like an oxymoron. Nonetheless, I find myself reflecting on those early months of the pandemic and feeling an immense sense of gratitude. 

This past year, like none before, has forced us to adapt, innovate, and take risks at warp speed. It has propelled many of our industries forward at monumental speeds and changed current practices for the foreseeable future. It challenged us to take risks and make decisions with less than complete data and without the luxury we typical allot for self-reflection, analysis, and data gathering. Relief and guilt became a daily by-product of those day-to-day decisions. 

As a board trustee, a member of the Medical Advisory team, and a parent of two children at Post Oak, I have been in the unique position to observe and advise the Post Oak response to the events of 2020. It is this vantage point that has filled me with the greatest gratitude. 

I have witnessed firsthand the tireless efforts of our administration to do the right thing, often in direct contradiction to what may be the popular choice or the easy decision. I have witnessed our teachers lean in with new modes of education while holding strong to Montessori principles and meeting our children where they are, not where an arbitrary rubric suggested they needed to be. I have witnessed our community, despite physical distancing, come together to support each other as well as those less fortunate. I have witnessed our Board of Trustees continue the charge of strategic planning and financial stewardship despite immediate interruptions.  

Perhaps most important of all, I have witnessed the sparkle in my children’s eyes as they returned to school with the confidence that their school, The Post Oak School, was doing everything it needed to do to ensure their well-being. Throughout 2020, the Post Oak community taught them essential life skills—resiliency, patience, innovation, and independence. For that, I am eternally grateful. 

As another enrollment season approaches, I hope we all take time to reflect on the good that came out of the last year. In doing so, I hope you join me in finding gratitude for our Post Oak community and the promise for what lies ahead.

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