Bishop Seabury Academy students uncertain about their future can take heart in the spirit of Pilgrims who faced the unknown by working together.
Art Atkinson, head of the college-preparatory Barstow School in Kansas City, Mo., told students Tuesday during Seabury's convocation that the struggles of early American settlers offered lessons for those in the United States suffering through a time punctuated by suicidal airline hijackers, deadly anthrax mailings and military conflict.
"Life is unsettling," Atkinson said. "The world out there seems difficult."
He said Pilgrims came together in celebration of a Thanksgiving, in part to make the point that a communal approach gave them the best chance for a quality life.
"They acted in a way that was positive and creative," Atkinson said.
The same goes for youth at Bishop Seabury, he said. An educational community is an excellent place to start building that kind of safety net.
"The darkness will not overcome us," Atkinson said. "It is a good world, no matter how much uncertainty there is out there."
Meanwhile, he urged Bishop Seabury students not to be transfixed by the future. Their lives shouldn't be dominated by worries about whether they get into Harvard University or about the earning potential of a stock broker, he said.
"Sometimes in schools," Atkinson said, "we tragically forget the meaning of presence."
It's good Bishop Seabury staff had the presence of mind at convocation to honor students with high grade point averages and permit several student music groups to perform.
"It's about who you are what you are at this moment," he said.
Bishop Seabury is an Episcopal school launched in 1997 in the former Kaw Valley elementary school building between Lawrence and Eudora. It enrolls about 100 students in junior high and high school.