The building waits quietly for the return of its children...

Liz Dostal

The following was posted to the Wisconsin Heights Facebook page on March 20, 2020 by Wisconsin Heights High School Principal Liz Dostal.


Two years ago, newly hired as your Middle/High School Principal, I participated in the Future Search. The process revealed two communities who set aside a rivalry to unite under one name and one symbol, Wisconsin Heights Vanguards. I remember a gentleman at my table, leaning over and whispering gently, “The Vanguard was in reference to the Space program, we wanted to help forge the new frontier.”

My friends, a new challenge has arisen in the past seven days. As many of you read this on your phone or tablet, we are practicing social distancing, hoping to stay healthy and trying to establish a sense of normalcy. We are facing a new frontier as all the expectations, traditions, and rituals associated with schools in the Spring are now on hold. As we are all on hold, waiting.

This week, our teachers and support staff went from face to face instruction to remote learning in twenty-four hours. Our students and parents followed suit: picking up materials, responding to teacher emails and invites all within seven hours. And now, as I write this, the building waits quietly for the return of its children, voices raised in song, in cheers, in thought and reflection.

To all those who wonder, “What about Prom?” “What about graduation?” I say we will find a way. These events, these rites of passage, may be held at a different time (Fall Frolic anyone?), or they may be held in a different way (outdoor graduation?), but creative minds will find a way. And Vanguards, we have creativity and pragmatism in abundance; it is, in many ways, a Wisconsin tradition.

I am going to embrace this new frontier, and like the knight that is now our Vanguard, not be daunted by the challenges. If nothing else, this next week, where we are on “spring break” and many of us are working from home, we are going to have time, the one item that most of us complain about never having. Time to read, to discuss, to pause and think, time to take pleasure in our children, and in solitude. It is as Henry David Thoreau wrote in his book, Walden, “Not till we are lost, in other words till we have lost the world, do we begin to find ourselves.”

We will find ourselves. And we will continue to encounter this new world, this new frontier, with courage, strength, and compassion. It is what we do, who we are. We are Vanguards.



Liz Dostal




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