August 1, 2018

Our recent graduation brought both joy and bittersweet thoughts of life transitions. As I watched each graduate receive their graduation certificates, I remembered those who cried when their parents walked away on their first day of school; those who began by being uncertain about standing in front of their peers and became confident; and those who couldn’t wait for their first ride on the big yellow bus that would take them on their first field trip.
 
With the distinct advantage of knowing each of the students since their first day at JCDS, if not sooner, many “firsts” for each of them came to my mind. Though graduation day is a “last” of sorts, it is the “firsts” that so many of us will remember. 
 
Whether they graduated in 1961 or 2018, each of these alums, in their own unique way, have the common traits that paint the JCDS Portrait of a Graduate. 
 
  • They are prepared for academic success. This is exemplified by those attending high schools who received recent academic honors, including math, writing and Spanish awards during their high school awards assemblies. 
  • They approach challenges with confidence. This is exemplified by a rising high school senior recently featured in the Florida Times-Union for leading efforts to bring young people together with understanding through Project 4293.
  • JCDS graduates communicate thoughtfully and effectively, even in a different culture. One alum is producing plays, festivals, and films in Morocco and other Muslim countries that tackle difficult social issues. 
  • Our students act with compassion and respect others as a current student exemplified when she asked her birthday attendees to donate money for a therapy dog for a child who needed one to help spot potential seizures. All of these graduates, and so many more, lead by example. Through their selflessness and commitment, JCDS graduates serve as role models in our local community and communities throughout the world. 
 
To say we are proud of our students, past and present, is an understatement. JCDS graduates exemplify the traits that we believe are essential for a life well lived. Congratulations and thank you for living our school’s mission each and every day. 
 
 
Pat Walker
Head of School

Picture to right: Head of School Pat Walker, center, flanked by Board of Trustees President Jeff Kellmanson and 6th grade graduate Aaron Allen (‘18)
Head of School Pat Walker has 35 years of experience as an educator, including seven years teaching 1st grade at JCDS. She also served as Director of Admissions for thirteen years prior to being named Head of School in 2014.

Ms. Walker holds a BA in Education from Wake Forest University. She and her husband, James, are parents of twins who are alums of JCDS. Ms. Walker is passionate about character education and serving the children in her care.

She is active in the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), the Florida Council of Independent Schools (FCIS), for which she has served on several FCIS evaluation committees, and the Elementary School Heads Association (ESHA).
 
Located In Jacksonville, FL, Jacksonville Country Day is a Private School for Grades Pre-K - 6. JCDS is dedicated to academic excellence, as well as developing character and healthy lifestyles.