“To finish the moment, to find the journey’s end in every step of the road, to live the greatest number of good hours, is wisdom.”
June 4, 2021
(photo courtesy of Concord Museum)
Emerson wrote, “To finish the moment, to find the journey’s end in every step of the road, to live the greatest number of good hours, is wisdom.” Yet, inescapably, here we are in the final steps of this journey, a truth shown to us through students’ stories, presentations, and achievements this week.
Our artists, performers, and writers serenaded us Tuesday night with the fourth biannual Arts Night. Finn’s lyrical dance performance, the Jazz band’s songs, the countless drawings and paintings reminded us that the artistic world at VCS has stayed alive and well over the last year.
The 6th graders wound down the last full week of their first year of Middle School at VCS. And at the other end, the 8th graders, finishing up wind turbine and plant growing projects, Romeo and Juliet analytical writings, and the final math unit, are steps away from receiving their compasses next Wednesday in recognition of their completion of Middle School. The Juniors (and their parents/guardians) wrapped up the semester’s work on college application readiness and preparation for the fall season, just around the corner.
Wednesday morning, our Seniors walked us through their incredible individual projects of the last six weeks. Jordan’s mountain of work on viewing and reviewing classic American films, taking master classes with Aaron Sorkin and Spike Lee, reading texts on screenwriting, led to writing the first 60 pages of her own original screenplay. Maya’s project–refurbishing North Branch Nature Center’s old moth cases–resulted in a masterclass for us all in how natural illustrations and interpretive displays are created, start to finish, with stunningly beautiful results. Andrew, after walking us through the circuit panel he created, reported that his project working with local engineering start-up Beta’s well-publicized electric planes will lead to continued work and summer internships during his college engineering track at UVM.
Several Seniors, in addition to their projects, have been wrapping up the details, presenting final work, and defending multi-year Diploma Certificates–the school’s highest academic accomplishment and honor. Tuesday, Riley presented his showcase of Basquiat/Warhol/Haring-
informed and -inspired original sneaker art, followed up with his defense today, including discussing his research journal, expounding on the difference between aesthetics and agenda in art, and fielding an hour of committee questions. Austin finalized his original three-part, hour-long video series on human physiology and emergency medicine based on two summer’s of volunteering in a New York City Emergency Room, also in pursuit of a Diploma Certificate. And these two followed fellow Seniors Rachel and Benjamin, who presented and defended earlier in May.
These moments, the countless others this week and in these final days together in the 2020-21 school year, are in-and-of-themselves living “[great] numbers of good hours.” But these accomplishments, these moments when we pause each year to remark on the evident successes and achievements of all of our students, are in fact just echoes, mere reflections of the months and months of good hours we’ve spent together this year. An accomplishment that we as a school community recognize now wasn’t conceived of and executed in the last few weeks, but instead has been months–and in most cases years–in the making. Years of steps, actions, moments, awakenings in the very moment of doing, had their own importance and validity. Our life together as a community of learners, thinkers, and doers never really ceases–it merely takes breaks now and then, with some members moving on to their next stage of growth and giving to the world. In the final steps of this year’s journey, we honor the million steps–each and every one worth it and valid in its own right–each student has taken in that journey, hours and hours well spent, wisdom increasing without ceasing. Praise is due these students and thanks is due their teachers, a joyful celebration we all share and relish in, these last days together in the 2020-21 school year!
-Dr. Dexter P. Mahaffey, Head of School