As I enter into year two of my time here in Seattle, it has been an ongoing task of finding, building, and establishing a community.
Where will my daughter land in a preschool and literally find her little voice?
How will my son navigate a new phase of elementary school and make new friends?
How best can my wife find community while working virtually from home and needing a moment at the water cooler with her peers?
And, how can I navigate a new educational landscape, a new role, on a new coast?
When my alarm clock goes off in the morning; I wake up looking to build a community for others. During a four-month period starting in September, I work as an independent contractor helping Chinese and Chinese American students prepare for their interviews for independent schools here in the United States. During this interview preparation, I find myself coaching them on how to sell themselves as an engaging student, and willing community builders for the independent school that selects them. My conversations and question prep range from superheroes to their biggest fears; but more importantly, my conversation is built on what foundational pieces they might arrive with to their new potential community.
As I press the "End Meeting for All" button on my Zoom screen, I quickly transition my focus to my job as the Upper School Director of Admissions at Seattle Academy (SAAS).
From October to roughly late January, the Admissions Team hosts 18-25, 8th-graders that aspire to enroll at SAAS. During their visit, the students interact with our SAAS community while on tour, through class pop-ins, Q&A sessions with our student leaders, and a free-flowing lunch with those SAAS students that decide to join our guests during lunch. Everything about the visit for these 8th-graders is about showing the SAAS community in a light that allows them to see themselves in our community.
When I am not hosting 18-25, 8th-graders on visit days, I am completing about 3-5 Parent/ Guardian Interviews. The interview is less about the direct deliverable of the student's grades, but more a conversation about who their child is within their school community, and their home community. The conversation provides moments for those parents/ guardians to create a lens for me to view how their child might imagine and contribute to our SAAS community.
As I press the "End Meeting for All" button on my Zoom screen, I make my way from Cap Hill to West Seattle to my family and home. As I arrive home, I am exhausted; as I reach the door, there is a moment where I struggle to find the energy to flip the switch to dad mode. Once I open the door, I am greeted by my amazing family. The first person to greet me is normally our Standard Schnauzer of a dog, followed by Grayson; he normally busts around the corner with the biggest of smiles. Next, Vivian bounces around the corner to give me a hug and kiss. And finally, I get to give Lauren her daily good evening kiss before we figure out what is for dinner. This is my community; these are my people; this is my team!
For the year 2023, I want to make a New Year's resolution; I want to build my home community more. I hope that this resolution will provide peace of mind during my navigation of Seattle, Washington. This year, I want to be my son's first basketball coach in a similar fashion to what my father did for me. I want to get to know Vivian as the little human that she is and let her know I am always ready for her next once-upon-a-time story! I want to help my dog be more active by taking her out on runs, as we both get back in shape.
And most importantly, I want to build a stronger bond with my wife, Lauren. I am going to plan more date nights and quality time! I want to discover more of Seattle with her, weekend getaways, and photo-worthy moments!
This is the most important community that I have; the Lee Family.