Monday, January 29, 2007

The Junior/Senior Peace Studies class took a field trip on Wednesday night, and Thursday to Montpelier, Vermont. The class left Wednesday after Community Meeting to make it in time to see Anais Mitchell at the Langdon Street Cafe. Anais is a friend of Sheila, the Peace Studies teacher, and a Young Adult Friend. During her show, she dedicated a song to Sheila and The Meeting School students. The show ended late, and the class stayed at Betsy Ziegler and Joey Klein’s house in Plainfield, Vermont. Betsy and Joey are parents of Jacob Klein ’04 and run an organic farm that donates storage crops to The Meeting School each fall.
On the way home, the class stopped in Keene to check out a free show at The Colonial Theater. “Ailey II” was giving a free workshop to educate people about modern dance. The show gave advice to kids who might want to take dance classes, go to summer dance programs, become a choreographer, or professional dancer. The group will be providing a show this Saturday at The Colonial that a few members of the class will be going to.

Recently Franklin Pierce College has been logging their land that abuts The Meeting School property. The operation is close enough to us, that our Head of School called the President of FPC to get an explanation of their intentions. The operation is a part of their long term plan for the forest, and will create a more diversified population of trees. While FPC didn't notify us that they would be logging right up to the property line they did agree to leave a 50 foot buffer along all of our fields, and main walking trail after talking with Jackie. This picture, taken from Google Earth shows The Meeting School's property as it was before the logging. The image hasn't been updated since the logging, but we're looking forward to seeing how the image will look once it is.

Several students have formed a Spanish club recently. This year we've not had a formal Spanish class, which is what led students to form the club. A few of our students, being the proactive thinkers they are, decided that despite the lack of a Spanish class they wanted to learn the language on their own. The idea of a Spanish club was born, and excitement started growing. Currently the club has met two or three times, and rumors are they have big plans for eating meals together and taking field trips. If the club members are able to meet a set of requirements set by the curriculum coordinator they will be able to earn a language credit. The club members are being encouraged by Jackie, our Head of School who lived in Guatemala for several years and speaks Spanish well, to meet weekly.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Student Meeting is in charge of deciding what they will do for Saturday Night Activity each weekend. The Student Meeting brings that proposal to Community Meeting for approval each Wednesday, where the faculty have a chance to ask questions that might have to do with money, travel, or safety. This year, the student body has often chosen to take trips to see new movies in Keene, or Gardner. This weekend however the students made a request to have a school dance in the Hayden Room. With some help from Scott, students set up the PA system and decorated the room for a great dance party. Saturday afternoon they baked cookies, brownies, and pies for refreshments, and walked to the store for soda. The dance began at 8:30 with a student DJ holding down the tunes for everyone.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Last week the morning long block classes had a field trip day. We dedicate an entire day to field trips for each long block class so that classes can travel to places that offer a better experience, and can spend more time there. Here's a brief description of what each of the classes spent the day doing:
- The Cooking and Nutrition class spent the day checking out three small food businesses. First they were given an overview of the cheese-making process at Boggy Meadow Farm by the head cheese makers, complete with samples! Right down the road from Boggy Meadow Farm is LA Burdick Chocolates, where the class got some of the famous hot chocolate, and shared a few chocolate desserts. Last stop on the Cooking and Nutrition field trip was Orchard Hill Breadworks where unfortunately they missed the bread bakers who had already left. They did however get to see the hand build brick oven that Orchard Hill uses to bake their artisan breads in.
- Wood Carving Class was happy to take the entire day and devote it to completing some of the work that they've been doing this term. They've completed several different carving projects during the term, like a 6-inch Santa type figure, and an angel ornament. During the day they were able to walk up to the land recently logged by Franklin Pierce College and glean some great pieces for a walking stick project. The walking sticks will have an intricate pattern at or near the top, and each one will be designed differently by the student.
- Theater class was able to multi-task as a class by splitting into two groups for the morning. One group traveled to the Salvation Army to volunteer time hanging, folding, and sorting clothes. In return for the volunteer hours, the Salvation army gave each student ten free items which they used to get costumes for the performance. The other group spent the morning building wooden platforms that they will stand on in the show. The idea is that this show will be fully portable, like street theater. So each person will have a platform to stand on, and when the show finishes they can pick up the platforms and move to another spot.
- The History class traveled to the Amoskeag Mills in Manchester where they toured the museum and learned about the mill's history and how it effected the city of Manchester.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Earlier this week Rosie, our biggest milking cow, was bred to a Hereford. After months of waiting for Rosie to show anything close to a sign of being in heat, and wondering if she was just never going to, she finally did.
The way we tell that a cow is in heat here is to keep a watch them. If the other cows wont leave her alone, she’s probably in heat. Usually other cows will try to mount a cow that’s in heat, and sometimes a cow in heat is the one mounting the others. So, as you can tell, this takes some observation time to see whose really in heat, and whose just being crazy.
The timing is important too, you see, because a cow is only in standing heat for 12 hours. Standing heat is the time period when a heifer will allow a bull to mount her, and stand for him which is where the name comes from. Luckily Rosie was caught at the right time and Megan was able to call the local artificial inseminator to breed her.
During her time at The Meeting School Rose has been primarily used to produce beef cows given her size, and breed. So it was naturally a good decision to breed her to a Hereford when it came time to make a choice. In the past she has been breed with Black Angus, and we’ve had good results also.
Stay tuned for the news of her birth which will be sometime in the later summer to early fall.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

It’s the middle of January and we’re harvesting enough salad greens to feed the entire community from our greenhouse. The abundance is all thanks to the Fall Gardening Class who worked so hard to plant it all back in October. We have rows of bok-choy, parsley, swiss chard, a few different lettuces, radishes, spinach, beet greens, dill, cilantro, claytonia, and mustard greens. it’s a wonderful mix, and such a treat to be able to have in the middle of winter. Just today at lunch we had a great big salad picked fresh from the Greenhouse.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Our winter theater class will be putting on a fully-portable street production of "Hedwig & the Angry Inch" this February (dates TBA). This rock musical tells the story of "internationally ignored song stylist" Hedwig Schmidt, a fourth-wall smashing East German rock n' roll goddess who also happens to be the victim of a botched sex-change operation.
Senior student Olivia chose ans is directing the play. Students involved have shown much enthusiasm. Emma is playing the Rent-obsessed back-up singer Yitzak and says the plays score is, "awesome." Meg is playing the suave American Luther and looks forward to incorporating the audience during performances. Devin is playing Hedwig in his early years and says hes excited for the rush of stage fright. Caleb, playing sellout sensitive boy Tommy, is excited about the shows creative directions. Lamont is playing Band the Angry Inch's groupie and is excited about the whole thing.
This is the first time EVER that "Hedwig & the Angry Inch" has been performed by a high school ensemble.
As we hear more about the dates and time we'll keep you posted. Sounds like its going to be a good one!

Has winter finally arrived? More importantly, is it here to stay? The Competitive Games exercise class hasn't had to have a game inside yet because there's been no snow to stop them from using the athletic field, and its January! Yesterday was the first "storm" we've had all year, and we didn't get any snow. A storm left the campus coated with a half inch of ice, and left us in the dark for 12+ hours. It looks like winter might hang around with reports of temperatures in the single digits tonight, and highs around 30 degrees for the rest of the week. These are big changes from just a week ago when you could catch some bulbs coming up in front of the Art Studio. Its seems like the bulbs will be fine as long as we don't continue to have such drastic changes. Some of our trees wont make it out as well. Two large branches cracked under the weight of all the ice last night, and several others could be heard falling in the woods. Luckily nobody was hurt from the falling branches, but we have some clean-up work to do at Work Study. Here's hoping that the winter weather stays around for a while, and maybe we can get a little snow!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Happy Dr. Martin Luther King Day
"I want you to go home and put down your weapons. We must meet violence with non-violence. We must meet hate with love." -MLK

The Meeting School students and staff are taking this day to remember Dr. King, and to participate in proactive activities such as letter writing, an random acts of kindness to our neighbors. There is also a film being shown. The plan was to attend a workshop in Northampton, MA for the day, but the weather forced us to use the almost better than plan A backup plan.
As is becoming the tradition, we began the day with a big brunch in the Hindmarsh Dining Room that included cinnamon rolls, hash browns, scrambled eggs, fruit salad, yogurt, and juice.
Students have split into three groups and are rotating through the three activities for the afternoon.
  1. In Thomas House Sheila is showing the movie Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin. The movie shows the life of Rustin and his work behind the scenes putting together the March on Washington of '63.
  2. In Bliss House Tracy is leading a Deliberate Acts of Kindness activity. Like last year this group is baking treats for our neighbors. At the end of the day a group will walk around and deliver the treats in hand made boxes with notes. Last year we received thank you notes from some of the recipients.
  3. Finally, in Red House Fredrick is hosting a Letter Writing Campaign. Students will have an opportunity to write letters to their elected officials on whatever topic they deem most important.
"I believe firmly that love is a transforming power that can lift a whole community to new horizons of fair play, goodwill and justice"
- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The school’s drum set has been repaired recently by the parent of a current student. With a lot of effort from Lex, and Devin in the form of fund raising, Meghan’s dad was able to repair the drum set to a usable state. Until the set was repaired there wasn’t anyone in the Music Studio this year. Now you can hear the drums being used throughout the day, and at night until curfew. Thank you to everyone who pitched in to help Lex and Devin get the money they needed for the repairs, and especially to Mr. Prouty for making it all happen.