Head of School Greeting

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Dear LWHS Community,

Tonight, at 6:00 pm, the first Parent Association General Meeting will take place on Zoom. One part of the meeting will involve an update on our application process with the Department of Public Health and plans for having students slowly return to campus. Immediately following the meeting, a survey will go out to parents to collect information on which students will return in person and who will remain in distance learning. 

On Tuesday, November 3rd, citizens of the United States will go to the polls for election day. This yearly exercise in democratic participation is a hallmark of the image we have of American democracy. Voting is a hard fought right in America, and yet many eligible voters do not exercise this right of citizenship. According to the Pew Research Center, 56% of eligible voters cast a ballot for president in 2016. This percentage is lower than most other democracies in the world. 

There are many reasons researchers note for the low US turnout for elections. Voter disengagement, voter laws that make voting more complicated and difficult in certain places, feelings that a vote will not change anything, the list goes on. One factor that may not get enough attention is that voting in America is on a Tuesday when most people are working. Voting, for many,  is not convenient and takes extra effort to fit into lives that are already overcrowded with responsibilities. For many years, there has been a movement to make election day a National holiday to allow more people a less complicated path toward participation. This year, many or our students approached the school to ask if they could miss class in order to be poll workers on election day. Additionally, adults in our community requested time off so they could work phone banks to help encourage people to vote.

The obvious solution to supporting our community in this civic engagement, a central value of the school, is to make election day a school holiday. Thus, we decided to swap our planned fall holiday scheduled for November 2nd, 2020, with Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020. I am inspired by our students who want to be involved in this important and vital part of the democractic process. I am also excited to be able to spend a day helping to get the vote out and have people know that their voice matters. 

The day following election day will  be devoted to various workshops about the presidential election, We will provide spaces for students to explore their thoughts and feelings about what may turn out to be a volatile day in US history. We want to make sure that our students are able to process whatever might come their way on Tuesday. More details about the day will be shared in future eTigers. 

I leave you with one of my favorite memories from childhood -  accompanying my parents to the voting booth as a small child. They voted at our local elementary public school and on election day, my mom, dad, sister, brother and I would walk to school. My older sister and brother would immediately go off to play with their friends, and I guess because I was the youngest, my mom would take my hand and we would walk into the gym that smelled of floor wax, sweat and old wood. There were curtains in those days, and a voting machine with levers that poked holes in your ballot as you voted. I would ask my mom if I could watch her pull the levers and she said, “No, voting is a personal right and it is up to each person to decide who they will vote for. You can ask me again when we are out of the voting booth, inside the booth, it is private.” 

The ritual of voting contained an aura of specialness ever since. It is one of my favorite things to do. Please vote on November 3rd, and don’t forget to thank the poll workers!

Eric Temple
Head of School

Lick-Wilmerding High School

755 Ocean Avenue | San Francisco, CA 94112 | 415.333.4021
A private school with public purpose, Lick-Wilmerding High School develops the head, heart, and hands of highly motivated students from all walks of life, inspiring them to become lifelong learners who contribute to the world with confidence and compassion.