TAS Voices: Gratitude at the Finish Line

By Dan Long, Ed.D., Upper School Dean of Students

Each year, in my role as Dean of Students, I remind departing seniors of the importance of expressing gratitude during the important transition-from-TAS-to-college phase. 

The students in the Class of 2022 were just 2-years-old when I arrived at TAS in the fall of 2006 - and this year we leave together. 

The research is clear - gratitude makes you happier and healthier, two things you definitely appreciate more and more as time goes by. 

These are the things that I cannot pack into my suitcase but that will stay with me, no matter where I go next. (I know it's only Vietnam, so maybe I can actually take them with me!)

In these final days of our time together here at TAS, there is much gratitude to express, so much so that I run the risk of leaving someone out. 

From the many students who have walked the halls of this school during my time here….your enthusiasm, joy, humor, kindness, care, and at times mischievousness have added immeasurably to my life. Whether it was in the hallways, on the field, or just hanging out in my office playing Connect-Four, I thank you. 

To their parents who have demonstrated such generosity with their encouragement and kindness to my whole family, thank you. 

To my colleagues who loved and taught the three “little Longs,” who generously volunteered their time to support and direct student activities, put up with my scatter-brained ideas, and continuously (and correctly) reminded me that Missy is my much-better half, thank you. 

To my assistant Jessica, without whom nothing happens that happens, thank you.

To the oft-overlooked staff members who work so hard and so cheerfully supporting all that takes place at TAS, starting from the “good mornings” in the snack bar to the late evening vacuum cleaning and everything in-between, thank you. 

Missy and I consider it a huge blessing to call this beautiful island and its amazing people “home.” It will always be home, and memories of TAS will always be a vibrant part of that home.

In leaving, my sentiments are perhaps best expressed by author Mike Erikson, “I truly believe we can either see the connections, celebrate them, and express gratitude for our blessings, or we can see life as a string of coincidences that have no meaning or connection. For me, I’m going to believe in miracles, celebrate life, rejoice in the views of eternity and hope my choices will create a positive ripple effect in the lives of others.” 

Big thanks to all of you.