Christmas in 2020 is a special Christmas for our school community.
While the coronavirus is raging over the world and has affected many of us in various ways, the quietness of Christmas time truly is a time of reflection of the year gone by.
It is well-known that for many the Christmas after the loss of a loved family member or friend may be a particularly hard one, a Christmas that is not like the Christmases before.
In moments of darkness, it is important not to forget that Christmas is also a time associated with light. It is also a time to remember everything and everyone we are grateful for, our parents, friends, teachers, students and colleagues. I am personally grateful for the selfless contribution of doctors, nurses and everyone involved in the Austrian healthcare system that looked after my colleagues, my students and my own family.
Christmas is also the time to make peace and to end all quarrels, however big they may appear. To some of us Christmas is a religious tradition, to others purely an expression of their cultural identity. Some of us celebrate Christmas, some of us do not, and that is okay. As my Muslim students say: there is no compulsion in religion or irreligion.
It is the spirit of our school that allows for the many facets of identity and culture under one roof, in one classroom. It is our strength as a school community to live unity through diversity.
Acceptance goes a step beyond tolerance. I will not tire of emphasising that we accept and do not merely tolerate people’s different traditions and backgrounds, be they religious, cultural, or otherwise. I consider myself lucky to teach at a school where difference is nothing to be overcome but celebrated.
2021 will be a year of finding our way back to our school community. Many of our projects which were due to be implemented in 2020 had to be put on the back burner. But I am confident that we will meet the challenge. We will overcome corona and its aftermath, and we will unite again as a school community in the year to come.
I wish all teachers, students and friends of our school community a very happy Christmas and a happy new year.
May it be a good one.
With my best wishes,