Today, I’m here just to say ‘thank you.’ Thank you to the parents who make the tuition payments, pack the lunches, rearrange work schedules to make 3:15 pickups, midweek conferences, and the Strawberry Festival. Thank you for the sacrifices you make to have Community School in your lives.
Thank you to our students, who have to be the luckiest kids in the world, to go to school in this environment and with these tremendous teachers. Our children have taken so many things in stride in the past few years and they have performed beautifully.
Most importantly, I am here today to say ‘thank you’ to our amazing teachers and staff. You put everything you have into our community. You work longer hours than anyone can see, you make sacrifices of your own to teach our children. You keep them safe and grounded, help them to feel loved, confident and supported, encourage exploration and creativity and instill in our children a genuine love of learning. Our graduating students are ready to take on the next chapter because of your guidance, passion and generosity of spirit.
I want to particularly thank Linda Roth for guiding this ship through several unpredictable years, through some very rough storms. Linda, your willingness to choose what is right over what is easy, to prioritize our kids and inspire your staff is admirable. I cannot imagine a better partner in steering the future of Community School. Thank you for ALL you do.
Our son is beginning his college search and as we’ve started to have deeper conversations about what is important to him, I can share with you that I trace in his best qualities the influence of Community School. He’s curious because of Friday groups that exposed him to new ideas. He’s creative and confident in that creativity because of Arts Festivals and Museum Days. He’s fearless and has a global perspective because Elena took him to Bolivia for a month when he was 12. He seeks ways to engage with learning because he raised trout, and mummified a chicken to learn about Egyptian culture.
I’m often asked how our children do when they leave our unconventional school for more traditional environments. Are they successful when faced with standardized tests, more formal classrooms, more homework and heavier textbooks? I can share, in our experience, that thanks to his Spanish teacher, Elena, Conner was getting college credit for Spanish as a sophomore in high school. Thanks to his teachers Alex and Nancy, he could skip freshman math. Thanks to Katrina, he was more than ready for AP English and dual enrollment creative writing. Thanks to Bill, Emilie, Linda, Gina, Betsy and so many others, he left Community School with a growth mindset, confidence in his abilities, and a respect for learning.
We don’t know what he’s going to do or where he might go but I know with certainty that Community School is the foundation upon which his success will be built, and the same is true of every child here. Community School is the greatest gift we can give them and I’m grateful to all of you for choosing to give your children this experience.
In closing, I want to share a story with you about commitment. Many of you know Josh Chapman, whose son Jupiter will graduate tonight. Josh is a member of our board but joined the CS family as a student himself in 1977. His mom, Cherry taught art at CS for 30 years; Josh himself, after graduating from Yale, returned to CS to teach in 1999 before becoming the academic director at Community High School. His father, Tom, served on the CS board, and I daresay Josh’s wife Giuliana has made more shortcakes than the rest of us combined. Jupiter’s older brother Phineas graduated in 2014 and in an hour or so Jupiter will join him as an alumnus. All of this means that a Chapman has been on this campus, as a student or teacher, for 46 years. As we honor all of our graduates tonight, I also want to take a moment to recognize Josh and his family, whose commitment to this school is unmatched. Josh, we are so grateful for your stalwart support, your institutional history and guiding hand. Thank you to you, Giuliana and the whole family for making the Chapman story part of the CS story.
We all have our own CS story, and are building our own legacy, no one more so than the seminar students who will cross the stage tonight. I’m proud of all of you and we will all watch eagerly as you leave your marks on the world. Thanks to the teachers and family members sitting behind you… you have everything you need to be successful.
I wish everyone a relaxing, safe, healthy and joyful summer. Thank you.
Chair of Board of Trustees