Walnut Hill School for the Arts

A Message from the Head of School

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A Message from the Head of School
A Message from the Head of School

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February 2017

Dear Walnut Hill Community,

I write to you today with a message of reassurance and a reaffirmation of Walnut Hill's values.

I have been approached by members of our internal and extended Walnut Hill community about the impact of the presidential executive order temporarily banning travel from seven Muslim-majority countries and permanently banning entry from Syria that was signed on Friday, January 27, 2017. While the order does not, to our knowledge, directly impact any enrolled students, faculty/staff, or current families, we are aware of the fear and turmoil that it has caused in our country and throughout the world. I want to personally assure you that we are monitoring the development of this order. The wellbeing of our students from all nations is, as always, of the utmost importance.

As a School that counts "respect" as one of our five core values, we simply cannot be silent in the face of policies that promote fear and discrimination. We fully recognize the importance of national security; yet, as we teach our students, complex problems require careful thought and nuanced solutions. It is hard to ignore the harm caused by a blanket proclamation that has resulted in travelers being detained at airports, student visa-holders being denied return to their colleges and universities, and families being separated.

Our school community is enriched and strengthened by the fact that it is comprised of people from across the country and across the globe. We are fortunate that 30% of our students come to us from outside of the United States, and we welcome applicants from all nations, all religions, all points of the political spectrum. Living, learning, and making art in collaboration with individuals from varied backgrounds helps us all grow as compassionate global citizens.

It is at times like these that our motto, "Not for Ourselves Alone," comes into sharp focus. We must recognize the value of each and every person—regardless of their background or beliefs. We are for all, and we welcome all. To shy away from this motto, from our mission, from our values, in the face of turbulent times is not an option. We stand firmly rooted in our belief that Walnut Hill School for the Arts is made stronger by the varied perspectives that converge on our little campus on the Hill.

Let us not allow these challenging times further divide us. Instead, let us come together in a spirit of empathy and mutual respect. We call on our peer independent education and arts organizations across the country to join us in making a clear statement about the importance of diversity and openness within our communities.


Antonio Viva

Head of School

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