Parent Newsletter by Franny Shuker-Haines
Dear Buxton Families,
I’m sneaking in my Week 6 newsletter at the last minute! I am writing to you from Project Day 2020, a break from our usual routine to celebrate being over the halfway mark of the term. Since this is normally around the time of our first “home weekend,” we wanted to do something that would help the kids have a different kind of weekend here on campus.
So, the seniors and several energetic faculty members have organized our first Project Day of the year. What this means is that classes are cancelled, and students can use the day to pursue something they don’t normally have time to do, work on an existing project, collaborate with each other in new ways—you name it.
What have your creative kids come up with? We have a rock band coming together, rehearsing, and possibly performing for the school tonight; we have a mask-making activity; we have students working on get-out-the-vote initiatives; there’s a group making a movie and another working on a play … the list goes on! I’m hoping that I will have pictures to share with you next week.
Another great, creative thing that happened this past week was the next installment of Timothy’s weekend play activities! He and a group of students put on a production of a one-act called “The Goblins’ Plot to Murder God”—which is as odd and folk-tale-y as it sounds—and they did it on Sunday night, outdoors, on the soccer field, around a bonfire. I can’t tell you how magical it was to be standing there, sparks rising from the fire, wood crackling softly, and then starting to hear strange human/animal noises start drifting toward us from the woods … and then see the goblins emerge in masks and costumes made by Lola and Tessa (and Timothy) and create this true around-the-campfire theatrical moment. Evan Spencer memorized an amazing number of lines in two days and was mesmerizing as the Goblin King. The cast was ably and charmingly rounded out by Evan H, Karleigh, Mari, Jacob, and JW. As they finished up, I couldn’t help but think: Yup, we’re a progressive school, doing funky plays in the woods, making creative stuff happen all the time and everywhere. It was a proud moment!
Speaking of proud moments, the students are doing a really terrific job of organizing and using our weekly All School Meeting times to have lots of different kinds of meetings, gatherings, conversations, and intentional community time. We have had small advisory meetings to discuss the customs, meetings by grade to organize activities and discuss issues, Quaker-style meetings in the beautiful sunshine, and this week the students even organized a meeting to talk about issues surrounding sexism and mutual respect. It’s really impressive.
We are still perfecting our plans for Fall Arts, which will, of course, be very different this year and will be shared with families in different ways. I will let you know the full plans once we have worked out the details. What I can tell you is that kids will be released to go home on Saturday, November 21, time of day TBD. That said, we know there are students who already have plane tickets and travel plans assuming a Sunday release—and, never fear, we will take good care of them overnight on Saturday night, and make sure they are properly supported and fed.
Next week I promised I will share some updates on our history/social studies classes. In the meantime, enjoy these still-warm days of fall! We are feeling blessed to be able to keep doing Buxton outdoors this late into the season. Let’s all keep hoping for more of the same through mid-November!
In the meantime, stay safe, stay healthy!
All the best,
Founded in 1928, Buxton is a small, progressive, four-year college-preparatory boarding and day school in Western Massachusetts.