Friday, February 09, 2007

Next week Intersession will begin, and our students will travel all over the country, and world to gain new perspectives and discover new skills. Some of the projects I’m looking forward to posting here on the blog include relief work for Katrina Victims, WWOOF in New Zeeland, taking Art classes at the Sharon Arts Center, working with Spiral Q in Philadelphia, and volunteering for a children’s charity in Seattle. Students will return to school on March 11th, and begin giving reports to the community about their projects. Each person will be given 15-20 minutes to explain what goals they had, what they did, and what they learned. Check back for updates on some of the projects starting March 14th.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Its that time of year again. All of the students are working hard on papers for writing class, the term is coming to an end, and projects are due in other classes too. Students are making sure that plans are in place for Intersession, which begins at the end of this term. With all of these things due around the same time, a lot of students find themselves stressed out and overworked at this time of year. We celebrate this push towards the end of the second term, and the beginning of Intersession, which is such a satisfying time of the year. Learning to manage time, and burn the midnight oil in some cases is what this time of year is about. It’s an important life skill that students will learn from this short period in their lives. Right now it seems impossible, but when its done there will be a wonderful sense of accomplishment. We look forward to celebrating the end of another term, and to Graduation.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

This year is the 10th Anniversary of the Quaker Youth Leadership Conference, which is being held this year at Tandem Friends School in Charlottesville, VA. The conference is a place for leaders at each of the Friends schools to get together and talk about how things are done at their schools. There’s usually at least one workshop, a service project in the local community, and groups meeting with queries. The conference started over ten years ago when The Meeting School and Brooklyn Friends School exchanged students. It became such a good experience for the students at our schools that other schools started doing the same, and so on. As it became bigger, and schools had a harder time hosting so many students throughout the school year, the idea to turn it into a once a year conference was born. A High school conference about leadership for Juniors going into their senior year; a great idea for students, and schools. The location changes from school to school each year, up and down the east coast.
This year’s conference in Charlottesville, VA at Tandem Friends School was attended by two staff members, and five students from The Meeting School. We spent a night in Providence at Lincoln School, and left at 5:00AM on a bus with Lincoln School and Moses Brown School. The trip took about ten hours which was much faster than we had expected. The weather was remarkably similar to what we’ve been experiencing here in New Hampshire with temperatures in the lower 30’s, and predictions of snow.
Upon arrival we each received a t-shirt, folder with conference info, and lanyards with our names, school, and service project location on them. The Head of School, and conference organizers welcomed students from over 20 schools including the Ramallah Friends School in Palestine, and Friends Meeting School in England.
The Meeting School students had a great time at the conference, and are looking forward to spending more time with students from Lincoln School and Moses Brown. Next year’s conference is being planned and co-hosted by our three schools. Planning began on the bus ride back to Providence where we brainstormed ideas and things we want to do differently.

Monday, February 05, 2007

At The Meeting School faculty members invite students to live with them in their homes for the school year, making houses out of our New England Farmhouses. Students don’t have free reign in faculty homes however, so they have a kitchen in Red House where they can prepare food for themselves between meals. This way faculty members and students have their own spaces and can be responsible for the mess, or cleanliness of it. The Red House kitchen has had its ups and downs over the years, and this year its had an impressive record for cleanliness compared to recent years. Two years ago a new system for cleaning was proposed by a student that would share the responsibility for cleaning evenly among the student body. The system worked well last year, and we’ve continued to use it this year. Each morning at opening we make sure yesterday’s cleaning happened, and then ask the next student on the list to clean it. The system was designed to have each student who uses the kitchen clean their dishes throughout the day knowing that they wouldn’t want to clean up everyone else’s dishes on their day to clean. In the past what happened was just the opposite, and the daily cleaner would end up cleaning piles of dishes and spending nearly two hours to complete the job. In order to find a solution to the problem, Student Meeting and Community Life Committee took up the topic at meetings. Community Meeting also had a discussion about taking responsibility for ourselves, and how our actions effect everyone around us. All of this has led to the Red House kitchen having its cleanest week ever. We celebrated how well things went, and are continuing to discuss possible systematic changes that could make it easier to keep the kitchen clean.