Parent Newsletter by Franny Shuker-Haines
Dear Buxton families,
Spring is finally here! After several weeks of suspiciously winter-like weather, we have finally had some days of sunshine, some quality April showers, and a few sneak peeks at what are sure to be spectacular May flowers. I am always amazed at how quickly kids can find shorts and flip-flops to wear under their vast piles of sweatshirts and Carharts, but the minute the thermometer clicks above 60 degrees, out they come! (That may be my surest sign of spring!)
Hard to believe that we are four weeks in and have only six weeks to go. The super-quick recap will not be all that quick, because, as always, there’s so much going on. We started off the term with a spectacular, record-setting revisit day for prospective families—and your kids were stellar in every way: showing new families around campus, hosting them in mini-classes, sitting with them at lunch, patiently answering their questions. It was one of those proud moments, when I get to see the school through new eyes and am impressed by the warmth and generosity of our students and faculty. Amazing.
Shortly after that, we had our final room change of the term, with seniors getting top priority for their last room at Buxton. Meanwhile, the spring play was announced and cast (it’s The Laramie Project), the creative writing activity reconvened, chorus got going again after a winter hiatus, the orchestra started rehearsing their spring pieces, the African drum & dance program is hopping, the art studios are abuzz, and the Ultimate Frisbee team started practices. There’s so much more — classes and projects and Earth Day, oh my! Ask your kids!
But we definitely experienced a major highlight of our year last week. Frank Jackson, our amazing studio-art teacher and faculty liaison to the Activism Club, arranged for the Resistance Revival Chorus to come perform for us! This group grew out of the Women’s March and they have been taking their message of unity and joyful singing around the country ever since. They even recently performed at the Grammys. Frank helped arrange for them to come to Williamstown and perform at both Williams and at Buxton.
It was a beautifully intimate setting, having them singing traditional American protest songs at one end of our dining room, while the whole Buxton community sat right in front of them, soaking in every word and note, singing along, clapping, drumming on the tables, and stamping their feet. As the women were singing, you could see them looking at each other in wonder: Who are these kids? It was clear that as blown away as we were by the chorus, they were equally blown away by this tiny school most of them had never heard of and the joyful, uninhibited, enthusiastic kids who lived there. We shared lunch with the singers, and I have never seen such a spirited meal: everyone was so engaged in conversation, about Buxton, about resistance, about music, about race, everything. After lunch, the chorus members insisted on getting multiple pictures with the kids, and it was hard getting them back on their buses because they didn’t want to leave us. “Can we take them on tour with us?” they wanted to know—because, they said, it was the best audience they had ever performed for.
It reminded me of how powerfully art and life and idealism and power and agency are all interconnected, and how they feed each other. It reminded me that people grow when they are surrounded by other growing people, and how being moved—whether by a song, a painting, a short story, a poem, the beauty of a geometry proof, or the incredible way unseen waves make up both sound and light—is how we expand as people. It reminded me that what we do at Buxton is so worth doing.
Thanks for sharing in this project with us.
All the best,
Revisit Day 2018- Art class collaboration