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Grey Matters, February 12, 2018; Volume 6, Number 23

posted Feb 11, 2018, 10:18 AM by Andrew Shen

Hi Everyone,

I know that it’s only been a week and the pain is still raw, so my inclusion of the Eagles’ logo may be a not-so-popular decision.  I am doing it for two reasons, neither of them having to do with any enjoyment of self-flagellation. I also didn’t lose a bet, like Massachusetts Representative Capuano who had to wear an Eagles helmet to a congressional hearing. First, I want to use this moment as another chance where we can model for our kids how to accept defeat gracefully.  Last week when I commented on how our kids didn’t really understand that Super Bowl victories shouldn’t be considered a predetermined outcome, I thought I was joking (though I wonder what that Northeastern student is doing about his tattoo).  But when the play clock hit 0:00 and Tom Brady’s desperation heave wasn’t successful, my three kids were legitimately confused.  When I sighed and said, “well, there it is” my youngest son looked at me and actually asked me “what happens now?”, as though there might now be some appeals process where we can get an extension to the game.  I resisted the temptation to show him a YouTube clip of the baseball going through Bill Buckner’s legs in 1986 and herded them all to bed.  Second, I include the logo as a nod to any and all RJ Grey families who are Eagles fans and offer them a hearty congratulations.  There is one family in particular (they know who they are), who has had several children attend RJ Grey during my time here, whose love of the Eagles is pretty intense.  We’ve spent many years exchanging friendly barbs (I think they were friendly….) about the Patriots and the Eagles, and they deserve the opportunity to savor the moment.  I, on the other hand, am slowly making progress from the disappointment of last Sunday.  By Wednesday I was able to visit sports-based websites and read some of the gentler articles about next season.  And earlier this weekend I finish preparing my 2017 tax returns. I figured why create an entirely separate painful experience later this Spring and just folded that annual gut punch into this recent stretch of tough moments.  If this opening to Grey Matters was a bit of a downer for you, look on the bright side: Boston’s traffic is only rated as the 7th worst in the country and so sometimes it’s good not be considered #1 (and ignore the fact that Boston traffic has actually gotten worse and moved up from its 8th place standing last year).  

Here are a few updates and reminders for the next few weeks:

February Vacation begins after school this Friday, February 16. Friday is a full-day of school.  If you already know that your child will be absent on that day, please be sure to let our Main Office know so we can manage the attendance process successfully.  You can email Katy Frey at  

The Winter Trimester closes on Friday, March 2 and report cards will be emailed to families about two weeks after that.  Additionally, 8th grade students and their families will begin to discuss course registration and recommendations with teachers in early/mid-March.  I’ll be sure to provide additional details when we return from February Vacation.  

Given that we’ve had a number of weather-related adjustments to our school calendar, I wanted to provide an update and reminder that our last day of school is currently scheduled for Thursday, June 21.  If we experience any more school cancellations that date would be pushed back.  

It’s clear that the flu and other illnesses aren’t really letting up within our community.  That’s pretty consistent with what’s going on throughout Massachusetts, other parts of the country, and even at the Winter Olympics.  Last week we had two consecutive days where over 100 students were absent.  Given that there was no victory parade for the Patriots, we can safely assume that these absences were primarily due to sickness.  We’ve also had a number of teachers felled by illness and I’m hoping that the upcoming vacation will give everyone a chance to recover and for these pesky germs to dissipate.  If your child has been out for multiple days and is a bit nervous about returning to school and a pile of missed work, I would encourage you to contact your child’s counselor and work with them on a re-entry plan.  

I want to wish those in our community who celebrate Chinese New Year a happy and festive new year as we enter the Year of the Dog.  I want to congratulate and acknowledge the Acton Chinese Language School’s event this Sunday evening that celebrates the new year and their 15 year anniversary.  Along with that very local event, here’s a list of a few more activities and celebratory events in the Boston area that might be of interest.  Of course, if we lived in San Francisco we could also enjoy the Chinese New Year Festival and Parade, considered the largest celebration of this type outside of Asia.  

On Friday, we will enter the break by having our annual Blue & Gold Day assembly, which has traditionally served as a celebration of school spirit, and where we gather as a whole school (which only really happens a few times a year).  As usual we’ll be sure to post the best photos of the event on our Twitter feed, and it will make for a great start to the February Break.  An important reminder that there will be no homework assigned for vacation period.  We hope that everyone uses this time as an opportunity to disconnect from school and devote time to other interests.  Safe travels to those who are using the break as a chance to get away.  

Have a great week, a great February Break, everyone.