Note: Printed below is an unsolicited email I received from Bill Vander Velde, dad of Jake and Josh, Bridgedale 8th and 6th graders respectively during the 2022-23 school year. I've received Bill's permission to print his personal email in its entirety. It's a long note but I hope you'll take the time to read it.
Bridgedale Headmaster Mike McPartlin
Good morning Mike,
Colette and I wanted to drop you an email regarding Bridgedale and Jake and Josh. We have been thinking about this quite a bit. We really don’t even know where to begin. Words cannot even begin to express what you and Bridgedale have done for both of our boys. Thinking back to the gracious offer you gave us last fall and where this ended up at graduation last week. It literally brings tears to our eyes on so many levels for so many different reasons.
First of all, we could never have imagined our boys attending Bridgedale. Second, your offer came at a time when financially things were really tough, as our business was still reeling from the COVID shutdowns. Third, the impact that Bridgedale has had on Jake and Josh is immeasurable from now and in the years to come. This impact, seriously, cannot even be measured yet because it’s still in its infancy! We are referring to not just Hockey skills, but, academics, responsibility, character and personal development. These boys KNEW that they mattered to Bridgedale staff and this inspired them to be better and strive to meet the expectations set for them.
To say we are overwhelmed at what has happened to the boys in such a short period of time is understatement. Please indulge me as we list some of the positive attributes that have developed in just 7 months:
1. Increased self confidence as individuals.Both are making decisions quicker and more freely for themselves.
2. Character development on and off the ice. Both have strengthened their mental strength to make right decisions in adverse situations and not succumb to peer pressure.
3. Personal responsibility has increased. They are quicker to be aware of what is going on around them and be part of a solution and not being a problem.
4. Increased academically. They both care about their grades and monitor their progress and strived to be their best.
5. Their hockey skills….this can’t even quantified. The growth disparity from when both started to now is immeasurable. It’s mind blowing. Being at Bridgedale has opened many doors for both boys for hockey. Josh has moved up to what I believe as one of the top 2011 goalies in the country. These aren’t actually my words but from coaches. Jacob, what can we say, wow, he is showing some serious skills and looks to be carving out his own path to playing exceptional hockey.
6. Their personal responsibility growth, for their own actions, as a classmate, teammate, student and as an individual has been outstanding.