Empathy through Community

Chris Hancock, Assistant Head of School Student Life

Anyone who knows Eagle Hill knows intimately the power of family.  We endeavor to see ourselves and act as families would to support our kids and each other.Much of this dynamic is fostered after 3pm when school is done for the day.  Our resident counselors and student life staff work daily to guide students through their development, foster discovery of new hobbies, and challenge them to make sense of the world around them and their place within it. 


Ms. Shanks’ online reading class.

The Importance of Family

Deep bonds naturally develop from all of this time spent together over 9 months that further support our collective work.  The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly and abruptly changed how we effectively engage in this process. Nevertheless, this crisis has foregrounded the importance of family, and, in doing so, has made EHS’s transition to online spaces outside of school hours as smooth and enriching as any school in the nation.  We are privileged in that way. 

Since the day after students departed campus in March, we have been able to support each other emotionally and developmentally in virtual spaces because of two fundamental elements of family – love and empathy.


Coaches Miller and Foley hosted a movie night and the rowing team watched Losing Sight of Shore together. 

Community Connections

The mechanics of the day to day interactions with students are surely part of EHS’s “Family Formula.”  From 1-on-1 Facetime meetings multiple times per week with resident counselors, to trivia nights, Family Feud evenings, online gaming challenges, online Pictionary, movie nights together, and a community-wide 55 day fitness challenge, we simply plan to show up in each other’s lives to listen, support, gather, and share. Every day.   It is what the trauma our kids are experiencing, that we are experiencing, calls for.  Yet, it is not only the structure that serves as vehicle to create this supportive, loving community.  It is our ethos. 

China Class

Mrs. Mackiewicz assigned her class studying China to illustrate Chinese themes.

Best-selling American author, bell hooks, touches on a theme personified at EHS in her book, “All About Love” (2000).  She refers to a love ethic.  In EHS’s case, it is better framed as a family ethic in that “We do this by choosing to work with individuals we admire and respect; by committing to give our all to relationships; by embracing a global vision wherein we see our lives and our fate as intimately connected to those of everyone else on the planet” (p. 85). 

The Choices We Make

No quote better defines our EHS family within the current global context.  The choices we make as a school are rooted in our interconnectedness and, in turn, give birth to actions as expressions of love and empathy.


Mr. Leyva entertains online with his music.

This is what we have to give and share as a school. It is what we must be for each other.  The soft bigotry of low expectations during this crisis has no place at EHS.  Our kids, our families, deserve all we can give to these relationships and we should be proud to be part of a community that acknowledges this must happen after 3pm even in our currently distanced world.
P.O. Box 116
242 Old Petersham Road
Hardwick, MA 01037
Phone: 413.477.6000
Fax: 413.477.6837

Eagle Hill School

Eagle Hill School is the premier college preparatory boarding and day school for students in grades 8-12 with diverse learning profiles, such as ADHD and Dyslexia.