Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Stardom in All of Us

I love the middle school talent show.  Though I am impressed by our talented middle schoolers, and we have some that are wildly talented, in some ways I enjoy the acts of the students just starting to explore their talent even more.  I am awed by the bravery of these students who perform with gusto and grace.  I am even more impressed by the warm reception from their peers.  Each act is greeted with raucous and appreciative applause.  Every act leaves feeling like a star.  And that is the way it should be; they are all stars and I am glad Duke School is a community that embraces the stardom in all of us.   

Friday, May 25, 2012

She is Indeed a Problem Solver for Our Complex World

Saturday was an exhilarating day which once again reinforced how vibrant the Duke School community is.  My day started at 7 a.m. watching Chris Marshall put three pigs on three separate grills for the end of the year party.  While Chris tries to minimize it, the planning that goes into the party is extensive.   I was back at noon to see the pigs’ progress and then back at 3:30 to help with the feed the millions food packing.  At 4 p.m., I slipped over to the preschool playgrounds to meet new families who were meeting with ambassadors and preparing to enjoy the picnic.  Three great things at the school in one place.

However, my favorite part of the day had yet to start.  At 9 p.m., I headed to Casbah to see the first part of two day extravaganza to raise money for the Children’s Upliftement Programme of Sri Lanka.
These events were organized by 8th grader Olivia Simpson as part of her 8th grade project.  Saturday was a cultural music benefit and Sunday was a play produced and directed by Olivia.  

The Saturday night benefit featured La Bete Magique, a musical duet featuring fellow 8th grader Tahila playing original music and her 11 year old friend singing her own original lyrics.  And it was excellent.  At the end, Olivia raised enough money to build a library in a Sri Lanka village.  Kudos!

So a weekend of new friends, service and celebrating old friends.  Most exciting of all a Duke School 8th grader has illustrated she is indeed a problem solver for our complex world.  Good for her!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What a Gift

I headed to the Lemur Center with half the fifth grade and their parents last week.  The fifth grade has adopted the Lemur Center as its service project, and they have indeed made a difference.  As you walk down to the Lemur enclosures you see half a dozen signs featuring pictures that our fifth graders from last year drew. (one example is below)
The current fifth grade gave me a tour identifying each type of lemur, telling me of their habits and informing me of the work they did with the lemurs.  They remind me that much of the fruit the lemurs eat is grown in the garden Duke School students planted after receiving a Disney grant to plant it. 

Equally impressive was the enthusiasm the staff had for our students.  Each one of them told me how much the fifth graders meant to them, the center and the lemurs.  They contrasted our dedication coming regularly versus a typical school visit that lasts an hour or two and then the students disappear. 

There is no doubt that our fifth graders understand they are problem solvers and they can make a difference.  What a gift for a 12 year old.