May 10, 2018

Memory Lane

My first week at Friends School, August 2011
Each week our elementary school comes together for our weekly Gathering.  On occasion, our Pre-K and middle school students join in the fun.

Last week, Dacia invited me to ‘be’ the Gathering.  I chose to use the time for some storytelling and to share a collection of photos from my seven years at Friends School. Apart from mild alarm at how less grey I was on top in 2011, it was a fun trip down memory lane! And it was even more fun to share it with the kids.

I invited fifth graders who began in preschool the same year as me to stand and be acknowledged. We have shared a lot of events together over the years. Showing photos of upper elementary kids from back when they were in preschool drew some big smiles!

Zombie Steve
I enjoyed sharing with our elementary students photos and stories of the solar panels we put on the elementary building seven years ago, that at the time provided over 90% of the energy for the building.

I showed photos of early changes we created in our upper elementary grades that have now become long-standing traditions, such as the fifth grade play and the Crow Canyon trip – a trip from which our current fifth graders return today!

I reminisced with a few snapshots of various elementary celebrations over the years, including, Harvest and the telling of Stone Soup, with a group of parents acting as the pot, lovingly holding their children in bounds. I shared pictures of Halloween and my love for dressing up. I told the story of my first Friends School Halloween when I overdid it, arriving as a zombie in full theatre makeup, and was admonished by the Kindergarten teacher for being too scary.  This year’s Swedish Chef had just as much makeup but was a little less frightening!
Pancake Steve

I showed pictures of some of the South Campus improvements we have done over the years, and the development of the North Campus and the beginnings of our middle school.

I highlighted a few wonderful achievements including a 2ndgrade film that made it all the way to an award at the White House Student Film Festival, and Friends students on the stage at the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

I included a number of fun slides featuring our introduction of our Friends Fox mascot, the head of school created in pancake batter, Diane Bramble inspiring reading dressed as Roald Dahl’s BFG, and the fifth graders defeating their teachers at dodgeball.

Friends student Sadie M. meets the President, 2015
I featured our now year-old Friends School logo and brand.

Pictures. Stories. Changes.

How do you capture seven years of learning, laughing, living and loving in a few slides?

The short answer is, you don’t.

You give a glimpse and hope to highlight a few moments. Moments that are brief pausing places along memory lane.  

Diane Bramble as the BFG
As I was preparing the presentation, I spent hours strolling down memory lane, revisiting the thousands of photographs that still only catch a glimpse of hundreds of individual journeys. Some of these journeys are just beginning.  Some our wrapping up their third grade, or fifth grade, or seventh grade journeys.  Some have passed through our school’s doors several years ago and are now flying in high school and beyond.

As a head of school, it has been and continues to be a privilege to walk alongside our students as they travel the road.  Not in the ways I used to when I was a classroom teacher, but in small ways when I share a quick connection, or in broader ways when I help shape the strategic vision for what’s to come.

Memory lane is a wonderful place to stroll. Thank you for letting me walk alongside you.

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