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Connecting and Reconnecting

Connecting and Reconnecting
Gerard Gonnella

It’s the time of year again to welcome many new and returning students back to school. Once again, The Wardlaw+Hartridge School, in its 139 years of continuing operation, welcomes students to what will certainly be another challenging and fun-filled year with many opportunities to explore new ideas and passions. 

We are pleased and proud to have completed a robust admission season, welcoming 134 new pioneering thinkers and their families for the 2021-2022 school year. I enjoyed connecting with many of our newest community members at the New Parent Reception on October 7. Their children are the latest group of new students to add to our diverse student body.

Our school is much more than the sum of its books and curriculum. We have an educational environment in which students embrace a love of learning while being nurtured and challenged by a dedicated, caring group of teachers. Diverse opinions are valued in our community. Students learn about more than sentence structure and mathematical formulas in our classrooms. They learn about themselves and build character while becoming more open minded citizens of the world.

Whether in our classrooms, on our athletic fields and stage, or engaging in service learning, students learn the importance of being resilient, educated, caring and the significant role they play in shaping the future. We often enjoy the privilege of welcoming our alumni back to campus. Whether they graduated this past June or 30-plus years ago, there is a strong sense of belonging.

Recently, my classmate Dr. Kevin Adair from the Class of 1989 returned to campus for a visit. Within minutes, he felt reconnected to his alma mater. Dr. Adair shared updates about his family and dental practice. He fondly recalled his days at Wardlaw+Hartridge and credited the school with providing the preparation for him to be successful. Dr. Adair and I also enjoyed a surprise reunion with Doc Rud, who taught us both U.S. History during our W+H days and happened to be on campus working as a substitute teacher. 

While many people over the past 18 months have been gathering on Zoom screens, some of our alumni have started meeting in person again. Back in July, some of my classmates met in New York City at a mini-reunion organized by Emily Ritz Cutler ’89 and Heidi Ritz Cohen ’90. Although I was unable to attend in person, I enjoyed collaboration and conversation during the planning process and still feel very connected to my W+H classmates. Connections like these embody what an independent school education provides. It promotes a strong sense of belonging in a community of shared values.

Please take some time to visit the Admission section of our website to do a deeper dive into our school.  I hope I have the opportunity to meet you in person at our upcoming Admission Information Session or online at one of our Virtual Admission Information Sessions. Contact the Admission Office anytime to set up a personal tour. You owe it to your child to explore what we offer at Middlesex County’s No. 1 independent school.