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.”
On Saturday, June 9th, we celebrated twenty years of Fairhaven School. In addition to joining our annual Capture the Flag game, about two hundred current students, alumni, founders, and friends of the school visited, shared stories, played music, ate brick oven pizza, and dug up the time capsule we buried in 1998. Founder and staff member Mark McCaig shared these remarks in the backyard at the time capsule ceremony.
Although I can’t believe it now, looking out at all this rain, a couple of days ago the weather was very hot and humid. One of the younger girls invited me to go to the stream with her, so we walked together down the winding, forest stairs. The leaves on the trees are now toughened up, and the sun is almost completely covered, except for the occasional diamond of light shining down. She got in the water, I stayed on the shore.
Since we first opened our doors, we have spent hundreds of hours playing kickball. This year, however, tension caused by players trash-talking, disagreements about rules, and a general malaise descending on the game threatened its existence. How the players addressed these issues exemplifies problem solving at Sudbury schools, and might concretize how our community functions.