We write to share the passing of Sudbury Valley School founder Danny Greenberg. He was a mentor and colleague since the mid-nineties, when we first contacted Sudbury Valley and began the process of starting Fairhaven School. Brilliant, funny, and always direct, Danny often showed the way, whether writing one of his many books or working these many decades to keep Sudbury Valley going.
We think of this as a healthy, normal part of the process. Fairhaven students are testing themselves and the school. What are my limits? What are the expectations of the school community? What can I get away with? How do I operate successfully in this place, doing the things I’m excited about without infringing on others? Answering these and similar questions are often the heavy lifting of a Fairhaven experience, and the input of a jury of one’s peers alongside reasonable consequences for one’s actions can be essential data.
Otto and I sat on the porch and talked about the Mastodon molar that a former student found in 2008, and of the replica in the showcase in the upstairs hallway. Otto wanted to see the spot where the molar was found. We ventured down the wooden steps to the path in the woods. He asked me questions, adding and subtracting the answers in his head, and he took me on a journey to the earth’s past. By the walk’s end I had newfound reverence for the present moment.
There are many reasons I enjoy the platform, such as meeting students’ pets and even their visiting family members, drawing together on the Zoom whiteboard option and creating stories together, playing games and watching others play games (I’ve learned a lot more about Minecraft in the past few months than in the last 7 years on campus), and mostly getting to know some students that I otherwise might have just had more casual conversations with.
The Kitchen Corporation voted to share some recipes on the school’s blog page over the next few months. Our first recipe, Apple Pizza, submitted by Alexa Moran, got tons of praise when it was made last November at school. Had there been a contest, Apple Pizza would have won best-version-of-the-apple-pie by the Kitchen Corporation. Alexa shared this yummy recipe from her grandmother. It’s a twist on the traditional apple pie recipe, easy to make with a fun name, and something people may want to try over the holidays.
As I ambled toward the Fairy Tree on a sunny fall Friday, I noticed more students than usual milling about, socially distanced, gathering twigs, acorns, flowers and other autumn loot from the lightly-forested area. It was the day of what students dubbed our first Fall Festival, replete with a Deity of Good Vibes and a well-thought-out economy using an acorn currency they call “chips”.