Wednesday, January 23, 2019

CFS: the early years

a school calls itself into being

an idea came from somewhere
into the hearts of members of a Quaker meeting,
Friends who felt the calling of that of God
within themselves, within others,
and then that calling came from the potential of a school
that would shape itself into being,
a school that would be there, for black and white together,
that would become what students need,
that would become what teachers could envision and create,
that could be re-envisioned every year, every day, every moment,
for truth is continually revealed, and obscured,

a school must constantly listen and respond
to the truth of each individual’s journey
and to the truth of the community
inherent in the possibilities
of individuals coming together,

four longterm staff sit together and visit,

sharing their stories of how each came to the school,
of the journey to create space and curriculum
that could unleash the learner’s power,
their drive to be, to become, to imagine:
a pine cone, stripped of its seeds, becomes a shrimp,
and shrimp races are born,
at the playground acorns become money,
mud becomes cookies, play is real:
the fort, the kitchen, the cardboard city,
one student’s special world is shared with the class,
and for two months his world holds theirs,
as story after story comes into being
within the welcoming arms of his newly-envisioned world,

within the storytelling I hear:
the effort of a young school with limited resources,
rescued carpet from a Durham hotel closing down,
better than no carpet, but still a trial,
furniture from the Record Bar going out-of-business, repurposed,
even three coffins used for coats
when closets made way so that two rooms
could be connected to allow family grouping of 7-10 year olds,
a bus service that broke down too often,
buses that were cheap because they weren’t worth much,
wood stove and chill to save on electricity:
staff and students making do,

I hear of administrators who support staff’s risks,
and colleagues who work to make sure
the kids stay central,
that the staff stay true to the cutting edge
where extraneous falls away, 
and the shape within reveals its beauty.

by Henry H. Walker
January 21, ‘19

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