Another winter, another theatre production (or two). As students and I were striking the set and packing up the costumes, sound equipment, light board, and props, the student who played both Dr. Horrible and Brenda the fairy ballerina said to me, “Problem solving skills, adaptability, abilities needed to function independently—I think I just went through all of those things in the past two months!” He was referring to the thesis statement he will soon be defending in order to graduate. The exact language each diploma candidate must defend is the following: “My experiences while at Fairhaven School have enabled me to develop the problem-solving skills, the adaptability, and the abilities needed to function independently and responsibly in the world that I am about to enter.”
(This post is written by Zoe Woodbridge, Fairhaven School class of 2009 and current substitute. Enjoy!)
Over the years, there have been many things I have come back to: places, relationships, poems. Fairhaven has always been and will be one of those places I come back to. Though I’ve accomplished a lot away from Fairhaven, I continue to think of it as my jumping off point for finding my place and voice in the world.
After graduating from Fairhaven, I attended Washington College in Chestertown, MD. I studied sociology and creative writing, among other things. I had no problem transitioning into the grading system of college, though I had also gone to public school through 9th grade. At Fairhaven, I had considered myself a leader by being a JC clerk several times and School Meeting Chair two years in a row, along with being involved in different corporations such as Music Corp and Theater Corp. It was partly because of this that I felt comfortable becoming president of the Dance Club at Washington College, as well as a Peer Mentor for incoming freshmen.
Our students spend a lot of their time outdoors. Although many of these hours involve exploration and imaginaitive play, I often see them playing more organized, pickup games of ultimate frisbee, basketball, and soccer. It never ceases to amaze me that our students play in all sorts of weather (notice football in the snow, below). Games at Fairhaven can be like the weather, in a way: they materialize instantly like summer storms often do, out of nowhere, then at some point they scatter, only to return another day.
Becka Miller, Staff
On Monday eleven of us hiked Old Rag Mountain in the Shenandoah National Forest – two staff and nine students.
“The Fairhaven School, which opened its doors in 1998, has no tests or grades, and no assigned homework. Its goal is to help students develop two core traits: agency and autonomy. (In response to one of the most common questions posed by prospective parents, one parent and former staffer wrote a blog post explaining how a democratic school differs from other alternative approaches to education.)”