Head of School Blog

Wornall Campus Flag Flying at Half Mast
  • Notes from the Head of School
My Thoughts This Morning, Oct. 29, 2018
Dr. Steve Bellis

On Friday evening, Virginia and I enjoyed the new documentary film about Fred Rogers, Won’t You Be My Neighbor? We were both deeply moved by the simple power of his humanity and ideals, along with the creativity, persistence and courage with which he pursued them. Mr. Rogers’ philosophy can best be summed up as a profound respect for children and a belief in the ultimate goodness within each child. This belief and the genuine way in which he expressed it drew all children to him and brought out the best in each of them. It is a spirit that those of us who spend our days at Pembroke Hill try very hard to live out every day. I went to bed encouraged and inspired to carry his message forward.

On Saturday, I was filled with a completely different emotion. Eleven people were murdered in a synagogue in Pittsburgh, which, in a painful irony, is only a short distance from the home where Mr. Rogers lived. It was literally in his neighborhood. Tragically, in today’s world, it has become possible to be inured to horrible crimes. Shootings in schools, workplaces, houses of worship and on public squares seem to happen with relentless regularity. More often than not, these uncivilized acts of brutality are motivated by hate.

This morning, my heart breaks for our Jewish students. On other mornings, it has ached for other students. Too many mornings have begun with this feeling. We can never accept the presence of such hatred or violence in our country. We must insist that every American - of every background - feels physically and emotionally safe. While we cannot make the world the way we wish it to be, we can here at school. And, we will do everything in our power to do so.

Today, I am more determined than ever to ensure that every child entrusted to us feels loved and valued and is fully supported as each of them finds the best within themselves. At the same time, we must re-double our efforts to make sure our core values of respect, compassion, scholarship and integrity are alive every day on campus so that when our students go out into the world, they carry these values forward with grace, courage and love. This is what we are called to do in this moment.

Thank you for sharing your precious children with us.


“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”  Fred Rogers