Welcome back! What a great opening Ridgefield High school (RHS) had to this school year. It is always so exciting to begin a new year and to experience the “possibilities” our students hold in their hands. With the start of school arrives the opportunity to share summer experiences, see old friends and make new friends, reconnect with teachers and embark upon new learning and experiences.

The RHS Mission Statement, “Our educational community strives to cultivate a highly engaging and personalized learning environment that encourages individual growth, resilience, citizenship, and empathy,” highlights our commitment to support students both academically and socially.

RHS is a large, comprehensive high school that is able to offer a broad array of courses. I encourage students to not only plan to meet graduation requirements but to also pursue areas they are passionate about or take a class that may be a totally new experience for them in order to explore new areas of interest. Individual growth is also certainly nurtured through experiences in clubs, dramatic productions, community service, or athletics. Again, these extracurricular options provide opportunities to seek new arenas of interest, make new friends and to de-stress.

Please know that we are aware there are many stressors affecting students today vis-a-vis academics, college applications, societal and peer pressures. It is essential that students discover activities in which they feel enriched and personally strengthened to better support their individual happiness, internal sense of well-being and ability to make independent, safe choices. It really is important to have fun, too.

I look forward to another great school year celebrating our students’ accomplishments and supporting them when needed in order to remain true to the RHS Mission and encourage individual growth, resilience, citizenship, and empathy.

Stacey Gross is the principal of Ridgefield High School.