Thursday, October 22, 2009

TMS by Moonlight

TMS blogger sat down with junior Marluna (a.k.a. "Moon") to chat about school, life, and what comes next.

TMS blogger: So...what drew you to TMS in the first place?

MW: Before here, I went to Arthur Morgan School It's based on Quaker principles like here, and also has a strong work program. One of the students there told me about TMS. I came and toured and toured and really loved it. Also I know several other alums of TMS and talked with them about the school. So there really wasn't ever much of a decision - I was going to TMS.

TMS blogger: How’s the year going?

MW: The year is going really well. I’m a junior this year and juniors typically take US history so I’m taking that, along with writing, geometry, ceramics and biology. All of the classes are really, really good. Working with Shana at Rooted With Clay as part of our ceramics class has been a wonderful opportunity.

US History is also very interesting. We've been very involved at actively looking at historical markers in our environment. We recently went to the Rindge cemetery to study gravestones. I understand an upcoming class will involve visiting the town offices in Keene or Rindge and exploring their town records. We are going to be asked to discover something of interest that no other historians know. I’m really looking forward to this challenge in "making" history.

TMS Blogger: So what about life on the farm?

MW: The new farm chore schedule is getting people more involved. We used to be on chores for two-week rotations, but the students decided to change the schedule so we're on once per week. I think it's a really good change - I think we will all end up being more in tune with the farm. For example, before you could be on in the winter and have no experience with farm chores in the spring.

TMS Blogger: I know you’re a junior, but have you thought about college?

MW: I've been thinking that a school like Warren Wilson College might be good... a smallish school, with some kind of a work program. I like being in this kind environment where people have different responsibilities and everybody has a role in making it all happen.

TMS Blogger: What are your preliminary plans for intersession?

MW: Well, I've been toying with a plan I call “Operation Bojangles.” I’d like to go to New Orleans in pursuit of the mythic Mr. Bojangles and do character profiles of street performers, through photography and character profiles. If this dream falls through, another option is to work at a vegan bakery in Concord, New Hampshire, called CafĂ© Indigo.

TMS Blogger: Good luck with "Operation Bojangles"! Wrapping up, what’s your favorite farm animal and why?

MW: (with pondering expression on her face) This is a very serious question for me…I think it’s a toss up between the ducks and Brioche the cow. The ducks are really funny and interesting – there’s a duck couple on campus – and it’s amusing to see them run around campus as a pack. Brioche is beautiful and has an attitude and I really appreciate that about her.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Marshes, Music, Marching and Meows at TMS

In addition to learning, community building, harvesting produce, pig and cow wrangling, and other exciting experiences, the first month of school has been marked by increasingly chilly temperatures and beautiful fall foliage.

In the classroom, students have been spending some time out of class. The Environmental Science course has been focused on "the tragedy of the commons," or what the overuse of resources is doing to our shared environment. In addition to looking at resource wars and exploitation in the Congo, junior student Andrew chatted with TMS Blogger about a recent class field trip down Bean Hill Road to study the ecosystem in our backyard. (Andrew ended up knee deep in the marsh studying the characteristics of the surrounding trees, cattails, Indian cucumbers, and peat moss, to name just a few of the florae.)

Thanks to board member Nancy Lloyd, on September 16 students had the opportunity to visit the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music in Nelson, New Hampshire, and hear the Apple Hill String Quartet play a piece called the Third String Quartet by the Czech composer Viktor Ullmann.

The quartet was written in 1943 during the two years Ullmann spent in the Nazi concentration camp, Theresienstadt. Ullmann was a student of Arnold Schoenberg and was a prolific composer, writer, and critic before he was deported to the camp, although sadly, only thirteen musical works remain from that time. In October 1944, Ullmann was transferred to Auschwitz where he was killed in the gas chambers.

The quartet itself is written in two movements. The piece is only about 12 minutes in duration, but it encompasses a range of colors and moods, from lush romanticism to wildly intense characters to complete desolation.

TMS senior student Stephen reflects on his experience: "It was awesome - the four musicians were captivating and incredibly talented, and explained the piece in detail." Another student, Charlotte (who is a cello player herself) liked the experience of meeting the musicians and watching them practice.

On October 1, five students and two faculty members participated in the annual New England Pilgrimage for Peace They met up with the walkers between Dublin and Peterborough and continued with them to the Peterborough United Church of Christ church where they had supper and participated in the evening program. In the sharing circle virtually every adult praised the students and said how important it was that they were there. The walkers said it was one of the best days they'd had, just having TMS energy to boost them.

Finally, Jackie Stillwell, the Head of School, has a new kitten named Rufus, whose namesake Rufus Jones was one of the most prominent Quaker philosophers, historians, and theologians of the 20th century. Kitty Rufus has some big shoes to fill; in the meantime, he's busy chewing on the plants in the office and being very cute.