Fall 2021 Newsletter: Together Again
Earlier this month, Rec Committee hosted a pumpkin-carving evening. (For families who are new to the school, Rec Committee is an every-Friday activity designed and hosted by a small group of elected students.) It’s optional, but almost every student was there, carving pumpkins, snacking on popcorn and chai, and listening to spooky music together. It was a preview of what will surely be another amazing Junior-class-led Halloween in a couple weeks, but it was also a flashback. A flashback to something like pre-Covid times, with dense clusters of students and teachers laughing and talking, silly and serious, face-to-face and together. We were huddled around our carving knives and pumpkin pieces, Buxton students and teachers doing what we do best: making things, being with each other.
We’ve reached Home Weekend, the near-halfway point in the fall semester. It has been such a special privilege to be back in this community, working with and living with this particular group of teachers and students. Buxton is different every year; you see it every fall. And that’s on purpose: the school is driven by the always-different mix of students and teachers that show up each September to take on the work together. The work of creating community, learning together, and growing together.
And like every year, this one has its own unique mix of joys and challenges. It has been so incredible to see people playing soccer together again, dancing together again, singing together again, eating around a table together again. It’s also been hard: all of us have experienced an incredibly difficult year and a half, and some of our social muscles feel out of shape. We’re working on it: stretching those muscles, growing them back, growing them stronger than before. We’re practicing how to be around each other again. And not just around each other, but truly with each other again. How to listen and learn from each other face-to-face and not through screens. How to hurt each other less, and how to come back from being hurt. How to attend to our needs as individuals, while knowing that this community only exists when we engage in it. It’s hard work. It’s hard work, but there’s no school I know of where I’d rather be practicing it. Buxton has always been one of the best crash courses there is in community living, in how to learn together, in person, every day.
After a week or two, the squirrels and chipmunks finally got the better of the Jack-o’-Lanterns. We took them to the pasture behind the Work Program building to dump them into the compost. That’s what we did last year, too—and do you know what happened? New pumpkins grew from the seeds. I can see it already: it’s next fall, there’s a new group of students, a new Rec Committee. They come across a random-seeming pumpkin patch behind the Work Program building and have a wonderful, new idea: let’s bring these up to the Main House and carve them—we can all do it together.
Deeply grateful for the first half of the term, looking forward to the next,
Head of School