A Farewell from the 2019–2022 POPA Chairs

Laura De Vera, Carlin Putman, and Daniela Sanchez, POPA co-chairs

Dear Post Oak Community,

Three years ago, Carlin Putman, Daniela Sanchez, and I embarked on a three-year journey as POPA co-chairs. We accepted the position with excitement and eagerness to create new bonds within the community.

We hit the ground running—planning teacher and staff breakfasts, social events at the school and the zoo, and POPA Dinner. Our bonds within the community were strengthening, and we were so happy to form new relationships with so many of you. Then, March 2020 happened. We all know what happened next. Our school went virtual. Our entire community had to change how we lived and how our children would learn. Our faculty became very creative in teaching our children through a screen, and our children became amazing sidewalk chalk artists. Time slowed down a little for many, and as distant-learning parents, we found tremendous respect for the teachers and staff in our community. 

As POPA co-chairs, our jobs changed too. How would we bring together a community that actually couldn’t get together? POPA workdays became POPA work-from-home days, our social gatherings turned into Community Date Nights, our Gala turned into a beautiful Art Market and entertaining Golf Tournament, and some new traditions came to fruition.

With all of that, Post Oak never lost its identity. We learned the true meaning of Montessori. We learned to pivot when necessary, and we learned who did it best, our children. Following our children in these situations was truly a gift that we may not have seen otherwise.

When the school announced that it would reopen in person in August 2020, there were many feelings: excitement, hopes for normalcy for our children, and some fears as well. We never knew when we would get the email or text that the class shut down and we would be back to distance learning. We didn't know if the virus would spread to our children. There was so much uncertainty, but one thing we were certain about was that Maura Joyce was going to lead the school with love, care, compassion, and our children as the top priority. Maura, the Medical Advisory Board, the Board of Trustees, our school nurse, and so many others put in countless hours to ensure that not only was Post Oak a safe place for our children, faculty, and staff, but that our children would still feel happy when they went to school. 

This past year, we saw the return of Family Fun Day, Grand Friend’s Day, Book Bash, and Gala. We started the year fully masked, and as the tides changed in the pandemic, our leaders carefully shifted us to mask-optional. As we spent the first couple of weeks trying to figure out who was who without a mask on, we also soaked up all of the smiles that were always there, just not always visible. For us, as POPA chairs, the Gala showed our community’s love for Post Oak, which shone through brighter than ever. Records were broken, laughs were had, and tears were even shed. It was one memorable night that we will cherish forever. 

Someone asked me the other day, “what is the hardest part of being a POPA co-chair?” I quickly answered, “Choosing the chairs for our events.” Our community is full of so many committed people who share similar goals.

Trying to choose a handful of people for events is mind-boggling at best. None of these events could happen without our volunteers, donors, and the faculty and staff, and we are truly grateful to have been surrounded by some of the best these past three years. Thank you to those who answered our calls and stepped up to these important positions.

As our time is coming to an end, we feel confident in the greatest decision we made over the past three years as we pass the POPA co-chair baton to Vareen Cunningham P ’24 and ’26, Rhian McKinney P ’19 and ’30, and Sabina Walia P ’31, ’33, and ’38. These three parents are committed to the Post Oak community, and we are excited to see their love for Post Oak shine bright.

We thank you all for your support, love, commitment, and laughs over the past three years, and we look forward to the future of Post Oak.

Sincerely,

Laura De Vera P ’32 and ’34
Carlin Putman P ’29 and ’30
Daniela Sanchez P ’24, ’26, and ’28

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