Parent Newsletter by Franny Shuker-Haines

Dear Buxton Families,

Another whirlwind week at Buxton! The Ultimate Frisbee team was once again victorious, beating their most recent foe 15 to 4. What?!? Amazing! Other cool outings and happenings: Timothy took a group of students to see (and to pet, of course) baby animals at Hancock Shaker Village, and Elissa took students to a talk by Laverne Cox at Smith. The senior art seminar group—as well as a bunch of other kids—are going to Bennington on Tuesday night to see a talk by Theaster Gates. I’m sure there’s more, but those are just the few I can recount off the top of my head.

The sophomore class hosted Earth Day for the school on Friday. (Yet another Buxton tradition is that each class plans and hosts a major celebration during the school year. The freshmen are in charge of Valentine’s Day, the sophomores focus on Earth Day, the juniors plan something spooky for Halloween, and the seniors surprise the school with Mountain Day.) Unfortunately, it was a little rainier than might have been ideal, but lots of cool planting projects got underway in spite of the drizzle, and the sophomores made a great meal for the school that was followed up with games and some nature documentaries. Go, sophomores!

This has also been a really busy time for seniors, who are making their final college choices. We’ve had kids off visiting Oberlin, Grinnell, Reed, Haverford, Smith, Wesleyan, Mount Holyoke, Colby, Sarah Lawrence, Brandeis, Kenyon, Lewis & Clark, Bard, Bennington, Hampshire, lots of SUNYs, and more. As always, our kids have a rich array of choices, and many of them have received merit scholarships they didn’t even ask for because schools want them so much! We’re proud and, on some level, unsurprised. We know what these kids are capable of and why they will make any college community a better place.

The juniors are just getting going on their college journeys. They have picked their advisors and are starting to meet with them. They have the PSATs under their belts; some have already taken the ACTs, and a group will be braving the SATs the first weekend in May. We will be pulling together and showing them their grades shortly before Spring Arts, and we’ll have a big meeting with junior parents over the course of that weekend. And so it begins again!

For those of you who are new to the school, Spring Arts Weekend is not to be missed! It is similar to the Fall Arts Weekend, except it is even more jam-packed. To give you a brief sneak preview, we will be presenting two different performances of our spring play, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time; a performance of a play written and directed by Molly Weinberg, a senior in the school; performances by the school’s chamber orchestra and chorus; readings by the students in the creative writing activity; small musical ensembles; and a blow-out performance by all of our (many) African Drum & Dance classes. We will also be squeezing a junior-parent meeting and a parent reception into the weekend. Oh, and a demonstration of physics-class projects … and some video work … and a brand-new art show will be hung on the walls and placed throughout the school. Even typing this up feels epic! We’ll be sending a schedule and more details soon, but plan on being here from Friday evening through Sunday afternoon, May 19-21!

One more highlight of the week. Drew Mitchell, a senior, gave a senior concert last night, highlighting both his incredible flute playing and some of his guitar compositions. These concerts are a somewhat rare and beautiful thing, but they are available to seniors who are deeply invested in the music program. Drew’s growth as a player and performer over his four years here has been extraordinary—and a treat for the rest of us to witness and follow. And the concert, which also included performances by Jacob Spector ’02, a composer and performer of some repute, and Jacqueline DeVoe, Drew’s flute teacher (who also teaches at Williams and the New England Conservatory of Music), was Buxton at its best. The rest of the students were psyched and attentive, the dining room got reconfigured to create a cozy performance space, and we all got to experience a little transcendence in the middle of the Berkshires on a Sunday night just because we could.

I love that.

More soon,

Franny Shuker-Haines



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