By: Tiffany Herndon, Director of Admissions
One month ago today, my family and I were in Knoxville, Tennessee, dropping our son off at college to begin his freshman year. Just a couple of days earlier, I watched as our new Tattnall families walked their children in for their first day of school. As these parents helped their children get settled and then turned to say goodbye, it occurred to me that leaving Slaton at the University of Tennessee was not much different than the scene I watched play out in that moment. However, instead of unpacking plastic tubs to organize a dorm room, these parents were helping their children place backpacks on hooks and find lockers. In lieu of searching an unfamiliar campus for the dorm room that would be my son’s home for the coming year, they searched for the classroom their child would learn to love one day at a time.
These parental experiences, though separated by years, were really very similar indeed. We were at completely different parts of the academic journey, but experiencing the same emotions, saying goodbye and watching as our children embark on an exciting new adventure. Watching the events of the first day of school, I couldn’t help but think of that moment 15 years ago when I was that new parent, helping Slaton find his classroom and watching as he met his pre-k teacher for the first time. I realized that saying goodbye to my preschooler was just as difficult as saying goodbye to my college freshman, but what made me feel better then was the exact same feeling that reassured me now. I knew that I was leaving him in the right place, a place that would nurture him and would set the stage for him to become his absolute best.
Several weeks ago, still very much a college freshman, Slaton called, and during our conversation, he quite spontaneously offered that Tattnall had given him two tools; the friends he would have for a lifetime, and complete preparation for college. As his mom, I knew that Tattnall had given him so much more in between. Over the years, he has developed an appreciation for the arts, been provided the opportunity to be a member of several athletic teams, had the chance to grow in his faith, and enjoyed a service program that required him to step outside of himself and contribute to his community. His elementary teachers nurtured a confidence in him that would encourage him to stand up in front of his elementary peers and give a speech that would eventually lead to a seat on the Elementary Student Council. The opportunity to make important and genuine connections with caring adults, the chance to learn by watching older Tattnall students act as role models, and the chance as a high school senior to lead a small group of middle school boys all helped mold him into the young man that he is today. While Slaton’s memories are appropriately focused on friendship and academics, I look at his experience through a parent’s eye and see one that touched every part of him. I see an education that helped develop not only his intellect but also his physical, spiritual, social and emotional self. Slaton’s Tattnall education was all-encompassing, complete and rich, and a lifelong blessing that will become more important to him as time goes on.
This week as we, the Tattnall family, prepare for Grandparents Day, the Abby Hinson playground dedication, and Friday’s family tailgate, my family will prepare to travel to Knoxville for parent’s weekend. We will be at a tailgate where we will, as we did 15 years ago, meet new families and meet Slaton’s friends, and once again leave excited about everything that lies ahead for him.
Wherever you are on your parenting journey, please know that Tattnall Square Academy is a place where you become a part of a family like no other, a place where your child will find love and encouragement… from the nervous first day to the joy of graduation and beyond.