I believe the aging of an institution has much in common with the aging of a person. As milestones occur, both reflect upon the legacy that has been left over the decades that have passed. Just as the individual ponders ideas such as home, family and growth, as FIS turns 60 this year, our school is doing the same. We are reflecting on the ways in which our campuses have been a home to many, built lifelong connections to our FIS family around the globe and grown from a little-known entity into an institution of world renown.
However, while the human body usually shows its age after six decades, FIS looks younger and more fit than it did in 1961. The rapid increase in knowledge over this period has been exponential, particularly in the areas of science and technology. The pace of this evolution of intellect is only growing faster and we know that students who begin today at FIS in First Steps will be graduating into a world we can barely imagine. It requires our school to “stay young and nimble” as we grow older because our FIS vision is to set the pace in international education, not follow it.
Even though our classrooms, sports facilities and labs may look very different than they did in 1961, and textbooks have been updated time and again, there are some things that remain unchanged. Our community – teachers, administrators, staff, parents and students – continue to work together to ensure that the experiences on our campuses and among one another are rich and rewarding ones. The fundamental lessons of an FIS education also remain unchanged; for instance, the Golden Rule of treating others how we want to be treated, the necessity of putting in hard work to achieve our goals, and the understanding that failure is a part of learning. A school may grow in its buildings and infrastructure, but ultimately it is only successful if it supports a student to mature into a change agent for good in the world. And for this to occur, timeless lessons of character are paramount, and sometimes the wisdom to teach such lessons comes with age.
So, Frankfurt International School is both 60 years old and 60 years young. Hopefully the decades that have passed have brought us a level of wisdom that will allow us to pass on the values and important truths our students need to positively impact the future. In addition, the past six decades have enabled FIS to invest in becoming younger, not with cosmetic nips and tucks, but with devotion to keeping abreast of the latest advances in teaching and learning.
I have now been at FIS for its 50th and 60th birthdays, and whether or not I am here for its 70th, I am grateful to be a part of this community where we are growing both older and younger together.