“You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” –A.A. Milne Volume 26, No. 1 Autumn 2014 The Muskr t The Community School Newsletter TCS Is A Quarter Century Strong Not one but two alumni are working here this fall; we just brought home three ribbons and a trophy from the Sandwich Fair; our fields are freshly mown; our dynamite faculty has already taken their students on nine field trips and are gearing up for a visit to the Supreme Court; Farmers’ Table lunches are bringing back old friends and welcoming new, for our 6th year of serving delectable locally-sourced meals; our website is getting a facelift; we’ve hosted one gourmet dinner and a wedding; our fall CSA has a record enrollment and winter crops are being dug and stored in our new walk-in cooler; and that’s in just the first 8 weeks of school! This fall, like so many others in our 25 year history, feels great. The energy coursing through the schoolhouse is positive, with music ringing during breaks, impromptu games of Magic and soccer taking equal numbers of players at lunch, really interesting classes challenging kids to think creatively and critically, and our beloved school house looking pretty spiffy after a summer’s worth of paint and putty (plus some loving and only occasionally grudging chore work by kids each day). There’s a nice balance of new and old faces at morning meeting, and every seat around our staff meeting table is full. When our two student board members heard we were putting together this fall tidbit of a Muskrat, Galen immediately asked if there were going to be space dedicated to kids’ musings on their education, friendships, challenges, and growth at TCS, so here you go, the definitive word on why this place is amazing. Thanks so much for continuing to be a friend to The Community School. We hope you’re as proud of our accomplishments as we are! Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse. -Henry VanDyke I am grateful for the feeling that everybody cares about each other. I’m looked at as an individual. People notice when I’m upset. It makes me feel important. --Kaylee, grade 12 I’m grateful that I’m able to be myself and respected as who I am and cared about for who I am. It’s kind of like we’re all family, and I’m thankful for that. --Sara, grade 9 The feelings of acceptance and being welcome, “come on in,” with no judgement, make me glad, happy, and excited to be here. --Devon, post-grad I feel grateful to work in a place where I’m free to teach what I’m passionate about and to follow students’ passions, and for a really rich community of teachers and people who share our space. --Courtney, teacher Everybody here accepts everybody. There’s no, “I hate you because you’re new.” This community is open for everybody. --Marvin, exchange student from Germany I’m grateful for the sharing of ideas from people of different ages and backgrounds, and the comfortable and open environment that this place provides. --Ole, teacher Tracy & Lianne’s Top Ten(s) The Community School is unique in many ways, including our administrative model. Co-directorship brings with it not only a sensible division of workload, but also fantastic opportunities for collaborative leadership, teamwork, and shared visioning. All the critical skills we hope to impart to our students, we are able to model on a daily basis. We regularly check in with each other about how to best meet the needs of our school, farm, and land, but we also discuss our general dreams for TCS. Here’s a quick snapshot of our “top ten” for the coming year; can you guess which of us connects to each? We want: 1. to see more new faces at our Thursday Farmer’s Tables lunches, while continuing to welcome our longtime and well-loved “regulars”. 1. world peace, beginning with our own mediation and problem solving skills. 2. the foxes to choose meals that don’t include Hannah and Shannon’s chickens, so we can have more fresh eggs. 2. next year’s Gourmet Dinner to be even more fabulous and delicious than our first...the menu is in the works! 3. our students and our staff to leave here each day feeling accomplished, well-fed, and happy. 3. about 7.5 more hours in every day, including time for at least one walk or maybe office yoga. 4. Mother Nature, the gods of highway traffic, and the TSA to help our many well-planned school trips to go off without a hitch. 4. three more cord of dry firewood, another box of matches, and a stash of used newspapers--shiny and colorful ads removed. 5. lots of people to feel compelled to spread the word about us, so plenty of kind, curious, open-minded, selfmotivated new students find their way here and join our ever-growing community. 5. another van to cart all those kids around! 6. Our farmer Hannah to revel in bountiful harvests and plentiful CSA shares next season. 6. exuberant participation in our adult and community arts classes, led by fiber artist Ellen Hedglin. 7. our Administrative Assistant, Kim Grace, to feel valued for all she so freely gives to the school (and that she never has to miss a day of work!) 7. even more visits and contact from our alumni; we miss you! And that goes for you former teachers, parents, and board members, too! 8. plenty of opportunities for genuine community involvement, and our ethos of service and stewardship to spread like wildfire. 8. our farm to grow and grow as a real model of community connectivity, sustainable practice, and vision. 9. our students to continue to read and love books in this age of Snapchat, Facebook, and texting. 9. our students to continue to read and love books in this age of Snapchat, Facebook, and texting. 10. our strong base of local supporters to add new faces and wisdom to its rank, so that we’ll thrive for at least another 25 years. 10. Amen, and thank you! Regardless of which of these wishes resonates with you, we hope this finds you content in your life, happy for the joyful vibe here at TCS, and thinking about coming by for a visit. , lly yfu jo Tracy & Lianne “So a squirrel walks into a room with a uke and a paintbrush....” * Art and music feed our souls, but they also contribute to greater learning capacity in a range of social and academic areas, including math and languages. The debate about funding arts education has raged for decades in public school districts, but it has always been a given that art and music are integral to a student’s experience at The Community School. Our students have plenty of opportunity to use and develop their artistic selves through coursework, break-time collaborations and short-term stewardship classes, and this year we welcome year-long art and music classes back into our curriculum. Each Monday morning students create art with local artist, musician and longtime TCS faculty/board member Candace Maher, who has helped us tap the power in each of us to create things of beauty. Shana Aisenberg is also here every week, sharing her myriad gifts of song and rhythm. In addition to her teaching, Shana may very well be remembered as the first person to play a ukulele as part of our Sandwich Fair parade entry (that’s her, center left, on our front page pic). *PUNCHLINE: “Hey, we can all create something beautiful, even without opposable thumbs! You Need Fiber In Your Life Weeping for the Willow What, you say? Kids shouldn’t have all the fun, soaking up the exciting learning energy at TCS this year? We agree! We’ve created a series of classes designed for community members of all ages, who are able to work independently (so no little ‘uns, please). We’ll begin with a fiber arts series, and then move into some writing and cooking offerings, later in the spring. Talented fiber artist Ellen Hedglin will share her skill and creative talent, as she takes you through the steps of stretching yourself in colorful new ways. Gorgeous materials are included in all fees. Call for info or to reserve a spot! Linda’s classes wrote poems under it. Out and About campers ate their lunch under it. Abbey Heimlich was married under it. Everyone has climbed it. But an era has passed. Recent fall winds yanked yet another big limb from our stately willow, exposing serious core rot. These same winds ripped large branches from the field oak and the ancient maple, now hugely rotten, which shaded the Perkins’ graveyard. When next you visit, you’ll mourn the passing of the willow and the maple, tidily cut by Vincent Cook and his crew. Maybe, though, you’ll clamber up the tall willow stump, left high for climbing and perching, and take in a new view. Fiber Art Beads Saturday, 11/29, 10am-2pm Learn to make one-of-a-kind beads that can be used in jewelry, weaving, and quilting. Materials & instruction: $50, bring lunch; coffee & snacks provided Needle-Felted Christmas Ornaments Thursday, 12/11, noon lunch/1-4pm class The holidays are near, and it’s a perfect time to make needle-felted ornaments for your tree or home. Materials & instruction: $40, with lunch $45 Building A Felt Vessel Thursday, 1/8, 10am-3pm Use wet felt and a resist to build a 3-d woolen vessel. Materials & instruction: $60, with lunch $65 Painting with Wool 101 Saturday, 1/24, 9am-1pm Learn the basics or hone your skills as you needlefelt a simply-drawn wool “painting.” Materials & instruction: $60, bring lunch; coffee & snacks provided Painting with Wool 102 Saturday, 2/7, 9am-1pm Continue on, putting your needlefelting skills to work as you learn to do a free-form wool “painting.” Materials & instruction: $60, bring lunch; coffee & snacks provided Holiday Fair December 6 10am-2pm A Tremendous Gathering of Artisans and Crafters with Gifts, Wreaths, Cookie Walk, Festival of Trees, Holiday Bazaar for the kids. Delicious hot lunch. Join us! Come All Ye Faithful! Commemorative Tappan Chair to Celebrate Our 25th Though our beloved trees are no longer here to shade us, we can gain comfort from them in perpetuity. Adam Nudd-Homeyer, of Tappan Chairs LLC in Sandwich, is designing and building a special chair, using wood from our willow, oak and maple. This absolutely unique chair is literally and figuratively steeped in the essence of The Community School and will be presented for online and live bidding in April, as part of our Celebrate Community Auction. We’ll post pictures online, as soon as the tree parts yield into chair parts. In the meantime, check out the possibilities at http://www.tappanchairs.com. Giving Thanks Feast Wednesday, November 26, 11:30-1pm, at TCS A Traditional Harvest Meal, By Donation. RSVP What Goes Around.... Over Hill, Over Dale Whether they are tending to the farm, caring for each other, engaging in social action or taking out the recycling, our students learn that the choices they make and the determination with which they undertake a task have an impact on others. All of us at TCS strive to “pay it forward” – to volunteer and give what we can of our time and treasure with the hope that our positive actions will have a trickle effect of kindness and positive action. If it is true that we reap what we sow, then we are certainly harvesting a bounty this year in the form of alumni who have joined our staff. Katie Smith returns to us with a degree in Writing and Literature and Master’s degree in education. Katie has taught poetry classes for us in the past, but this year she is serving as our full time Americorps employee – advising students, helping with a nascent post-grad program, providing academic support where it’s needed, leading community service and extracurricular activities, and driving our Conway bus. Katie often speaks of how important it is to her to give back to TCS, a place that supported and encouraged her individuality and aspirations. Katie is not the only former student sharing of herself with TCS. Juliana Beecher came back to her old stomping grounds to co-teach an outdoor leadership class with Sam Bensley. One of our core values is to connect with nature, and as an outdoor educator, Juliana is sharing her skills and love of the outdoors with our students. Though she has recently moved to Vermont, she hopes to make guest appearances throughout the year to assist Sam in leading hiking trips, including a potential “100-mile hike” in the spring. What goes around comes around – Katie and Juliana are now inspiring and supporting another generation of TCS stewards. When asked what drew them to TCS, many of our students respond that they are excited about the travel opportunities which are intrinsic to our curriculum and overall community experience. At a time when field trips are becoming less common in many middle and high schools, we are committed to expanding travel opportunities for our students. We find that bringing our learning into communities near and far not only connects classroom lessons to real-world experience, but also speaks to our core values of honoring the individual, acting responsibly with all people and places, facing challenge with courage, and experiencing education. Mark Twain, an author with whom several of our students are becoming quite familiar this year, was right on when he said, “travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” Our students return from their travels with a broader world-view and a greater sense of wonder, curiosity and confidence. This year most of our classes have some kind of travel component linked to them, ranging from day trips to week-long adventures. Whether it is walking the Freedom Trail in Boston as part of a class on the American Revolution or taking part in a hawk count for Migration class, day trips are all about connecting the learning and activities that happen in the classroom with a clear sense of place and purpose. Students in the Slavery and America’s Roots block recently visited the Black Heritage Trail in Portsmouth and were astounded to stand at a port right here in New Hampshire where slaves disembarked to a life of servitude. Suddenly, the reality that slavery was not just a southern issue took hold, and one student said she’d never look at Market Square the same way again. This year our students will travel to Washington D.C. to sit in on U.S. Supreme Court proceedings as part of our The Constitution and the Supreme Court class. Marine Biology students will study ocean life along the shores of Acadia National Park. Our Spain and the Americas class will spend a week studying Spanish and indigenous influences in New Mexico; and students in Our Neighbors to the North class will take a deeper look at our shared history with Canada as they visit Montreal. Have a favorite destination? Think it might connect to a learning opportunity? Let us know and maybe we can build it in to next year’s offerings. We are grateful for the times we were able to soak up wisdom, joy, and warmth from Suzanne Coolidge, a beloved teacher and board member. She knew that hot soup and bread made a difference, and shared generously of her delicious self. Our thoughts and love go out to Bob, Max and family. Jocelyn Gutchess was a kind supporter and bold role model for us. We are grateful for having known her. Happy Trails To You.... Farmers’ Table Goes Gourmet, And How! At $100 per ticket for a local foods fundraising dinner, you can imagine how nervous we were. Would the cooking live up to the expectations? Could we source enough local ingredients to do justice to the concept and recipes? Would the space be beautiful or would it feel like old spaghetti fundraising dinners in a 1984 cafeteria? Would anyone come? Any and all fears were quickly put to rest, this fall, as we hosted the first of many galas featuring robust company and festive foods. While the evening was too cold for us to ramble around outside and dine by candlelight under a tent, the students, staff, and parents pulled out the white linen cloths and napkins, rounded up family silver, and built exquisite bouquets, transforming the lobby and the science wing. The evening began with a cocktail and hors d’ouevre hour, made all the more special by the inclusion of TCS grad Eric Dube, founder of Dube Cider. His mixology skills were much appreciated as he poured cocktails using his hard cider, and other NH and VTsourced libations, as a focal point. Folk wandered from hors d’oeuvre table to bar and back again, sampling the pate de campagne of ground pork, ham and pork liver, delicately seasoned with nutmeg and allspice, made velvety wtih cream, the perfectly aged sheep’s milk cheeses from The Big Farm, and cauliflower tempura. Our dear friends Peter Barnard and John Cleveland brought their oenophilic talents to the celebration, choosing wines to pair with each course. Peter and a cohort of parents served wines throughout the meal, lingering with guests, answering questions, and exclaiming over each sip. Six students volunteered as wait staff. Guests were grouped at tables, and served each course family-style, with portions designed to let diners taste every offering. The kids listened raptly when they were presented with platter after platter, questioning cooking technique, spicing, and ingredients so that they could convey accurate info to our diners. Finally, all that was left to serve was a platter of bitesized rhubarb tarts--made by alumna Hillary Mangan, home from her bakery job for the weekend-- and chocolate truffles, each infused with different herbs and exotics grown here on the farm: ginger, lemongrass, and lavender. The last sips of wine were quaffed, hugs were shared, and some of the final words of the evening are still ringing here...”so, can you serve twice as many people next year? We’re coming back, and we’re bringing friends.” There’s A New Farmer In Town We joyfully welcome our new farm manager, Hannah Fleischmann, as she transitions from working as John’s assistant into our first-ever full-time farm manager. Because our farm production is now solidly a three-season endeavor, and moving perhaps into a four-season realm, we need a farmer who is with us year ‘round. Hannah will spend her first winter with us bringing crops to markets; working with teachers, Lianne, and Tracy to develop farm-based curricula; working with an ad hoc farm committee to develop a capital improvement plan for maintenance and replacement of farm infrastructure; raising chickens; and getting our new farm stand and walk in cooler ready for spring. We say a fond farewell to John and Emma, wishing them manageable pests and few rocks on their new path. Emma is a doctoral student at UMaine Orono, and John--after an extended cross country journey--is going to be tackling new soils in Maine. Their tireless efforts have forever dispelled the myth that abundant, diverse crops can’t be grown on our farm. They leave us with a new perspective, a small young orchard, a student garden, a solid start with permaculture plantings, and a very healthy garden. Puma Concolor Mountain lions don’t exist in New Hampshire, though they don’t seem to realize this to be true. You won’t have to ask too many people before you’ll find stories of signs and sightings in Tamworth and Sandwich, some very close to The Community School. This reclusive animal has a habitat of about 100 square miles. They prey on rodents, raccoons, deer, and even creatures, out West, as large as elk. Do they eat pig? This is our $64 question. This summer, neighbors Will Robinson and Kevin Fullam, along with our farmer John, raised pigs in one of our pastures. There was plenty of bear sign throughout South Tamworth this summer, including around our pig pen. One night, a pig disappeared completely, with nary a sign--no blood, no drag marks--left behind. This hog, at 150 pounds, would have been difficult (though not impossible) for even a large black bear to cart off. But how about a mountain lion? Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage Paid So. Tamworth, NH 03883 Permit No. 1 The Community School 1164 Bunker Hill Road South Tamworth, NH 03883 (603) 323-7000 www.communityschoolnh.org $1.00, $10,000 or anything in between is a boon! Here’s my gift. Please use it for the following: ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ unrestricted general financial aid farm, forest & fields stewardship, Farmers’ Table Rowe Leadership Award, celebrating a community leader Gabriel Orff Scholarship, honoring a student from Maine ___other:___________________________________________________ Consider Planned Giving--for a year or in perpetuity! You can have a pre-determined amount withdrawn from your account monthly, make a donation of appreciated stocks, or include The Community School in your will! Make out-of-the-box education, raising real food for people you know, and stewardship of a beautiful parcel of land your legacy. Contact Lianne Prentice at (603) 323-7000 or [email protected] for more information on how to make your pledge. Please use the enclosed envelope to mail your donation. THANK YOU to those who have already given!
© Copyright 2023 Paperzz