The Inevitability of Change

When I was a boy, there were certain aspects of my life that I didn’t want to change. For instance, I wanted to beat my brother in tennis every summer, play ice hockey on frozen lakes every winter, and be in the same classroom every year with my childhood friends Kevin Bowler and Brian Tonelli. These events signaled that everything was right with the world.

Paul Fochtman at first communion – and today
Paul Fochtman at first communion – and today

I don’t know when it occurred, but at some point in my life I realized that change was inevitable. As much as I enjoyed aspects of my life that seemed to remain constant, the world around me continued to spin and evolve, and I knew that transformation was in the air. I made new friends, I learned to ski as well as skate, and my brother may have even won a set in tennis in 1994.

I realized that I had no better chance fighting change than I did fighting gravity. Then, something “clicked” inside me, and I realized that change wasn’t something I needed to fight but was a gift full of opportunity. I not only learned to accept change, but to celebrate it. The status quo may have brought with it a certain level of comfort, but I would only be able to grow as a person if I allowed myself to be challenged and stretched by new experiences.

This same process of maturation can be applied to an institution as well. It can be tempting to turn away from challenging questions or projects because of the growing pains that will undoubtedly follow. Why take the risks required of those who want to be the best when being “good” isn’t so bad? The answer at FIS is, quite simply, because that is the commitment our mission statement makes to our families. Be it in the area of the arts, athletics, technology, science, or other fields of study, we will not settle for “the way things have always been done here” if we believe something better can be achieved.

Possibly, by the time this magazine is published, with the help of a little luck and a lot of hard work from our Board of Trustees and many others, I will have shared an ambitious plan for a new multi-use learning and athletic facility that will markedly improve the learning and growth that our students experience. I have no doubt that it will be a transformational change for the better, but it will also require all of us to have faith in this vision and withstand the short-term challenges it will bring.

Sometimes when I walk through the halls of our school and look into the faces of our students, I see a bit of myself in their eyes. I know that many of them are in that transformational period where they are discovering new skills and abilities and determining how these can be used to transform their world. The FIS mission statement calls us to inspire them to be adaptable and I believe we do that by modeling our own welcoming of change into our lives.
FIS is indeed an evolving journey. Thank you for joining us!