J.R. Neiswender | March 15 | Cougar Chronicle

It’s no secret that the ‘business of school’ is academics. Our mission compels us to prepare our students for higher-level thinking, analytical challenges, and intellectual pursuits for a lifetime of learning and growing.  And we do that successfully every day.  But for our students, each day at school is much more than that as well.  While our students come to school and successfully take on their academic demands, they also look forward to their lives “outside the walls” of their classrooms as well.  In many ways the challenges that Covid-19 has presented to all of us over the last year were MORE difficult in the extracurricular world than in the academic one.  Finding ways to socialize with one another, engage in activities, and simply have fun being children and teenagers has been the greatest obstacle to making this school year feel as normal as possible.  I am so amazingly proud of the way that our students and faculty have taken on these challenges as successfully as they have.

While many schools and states around the country have not managed to open full participation in athletics this year, Arkansas has, and our students have taken full advantage of this opportunity.  Our fall sports teams played complete seasons, and our basketball and bowling teams competed throughout this winter.  Both Jr. High and Sr. High girls basketball teams and the Jr. High boys basketball team wrapped up successful campaigns earlier this month, and the Sr. boys basketball team earned their trip to the State Tournament!  We are excited about many of our students participating in track and field this spring.  Our Cougars are taking full advantage of the opportunity to learn important life lessons through athletics and enjoy having fun with their classmates and friends.

And while our athletic teams are loving their chance to compete, our artists and musicians are finding outstanding ways to create and show off their tremendous abilities as well.  Hopefully many of you are staying connected to the school through our social media outlets, and if you are, you have seen the fabulous music videos and artistic works that have already been put on display this year.  Not only that, but plans for Arts Month are still in the works, and there will be even more opportunities to see the tremendous passion our students have for the arts and the myriad ways that they engage in creative expression.  Students throughout The New School have access to tremendous arts faculty and outstanding facilities, and they bring their creativity and vision to life each day.   

And one of the terrific things about The New School is that some of our students love those athletic endeavors so much that they participate on many of these different athletic teams throughout the year - and that’s possible here!  And some of our students love many different forms of artistic expression and can be found participating in drama, as well as ceramics, as well as visual arts, as well as music - and that’s possible here!  And maybe what’s even better is that it’s also possible to be one of those athletes and one of those artists at the same time too!!   Our athletes, our artists, our members of student government, our club leaders...all of them are academics as well.  But I am so proud of the way that our students and the faculty who support them have found ways to keep the energy, enthusiasm, and excitement high for our extracurricular endeavors throughout this challenging school year.  At The New School, the possibilities are endless.

J.R. Neiswender

Head of Upper School

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