Last week was our first All School Meeting (ASM), and what a great way to start! We held our now-annual “Student Summer Experience” presentation, with eight volunteers ranging across the four grades. Not only was the range of topics remarkable, but the poise and public-speaking displayed were show-stoppers!
The experiences were accessible to any student thinking of future options, as even the foreign travel examples were often done with community backing: volunteering for the local Food Project to work the farm and the co-op; going with a church mission to Kenya for three weeks, including running a medical clinic for three days that served 1,000 people; working at a local foundry, learning to weld and make bronze castings, in exchange for heavy labor (and this by a freshman girl); interning for a high tech company, de-bugging pilot apps; taking photos of our national parks and wildlife; engaging with community service in India; playing badminton for the American team at the Israeli Olympics; and teaching English to children in rural China.
The lessons learned were many, including a better understanding of other cultures; the realities of poverty (when all six children in one Kenyan family had maladies, or an Indian family had no communal garbage collection and so dumped their garbage daily out the back window); the value of social justice; the value of hard work; and the beauty of nature.
The Academy buzzed after this ASM with echoes of thoughts and reactions provoked by our articulate student presenters. I was proud of them all, and see this as a new “tradition” we can look forward to enjoying each fall. Go, BUA!
James S. Berkman
Head of School