Every year, our Advocacy classes spend four days before winter break putting together creative & thoughtful & school-appropriate recycled art masterpieces on a particular theme to display for community members and district office workers to admire. This activity serves to keep our students' minds off the excitement (or unfortunate dread) of the impending holidays, give us all a sense of frantic camaraderie, and remind people outside our building, and some inside, how brilliant kids can be.
This year we decided on the theme of Famous Renegades, making sure whomever we chose represented our school motto: Be Kind, Be Proud, Be Fearless. Each class came up with a different idea - ours was Robin Hood, other classes went with classic historical figures (Sir Isaac Newton, Gandhi) and modern leaders (Steve Jobs, Mandela), one group crafted a bust of a vibrant classmate while another made a mobile characterizing our principal, who has led our school since developing it a decade ago. As always, we marveled at the clever divergences that serve to highlight our collective ingeniousness.
By lunchtime we had all heard the horrifying news of the elementary school shooting. There are no words to make sense of such actions; we quietly, gently went on.
At the end of the day, our principal forwarded this message from the deputy superintendant:
I learned about the shooting this morning in Connecticut and was really struggling to make sense of this world. When I walked from my office to Hayes, I couldn't stop thinking about the heartache in that community. As I started to look at the art created in Hayes my spirit was rejuvenated by the community demonstrated in each of the advisory presentations. Each one was unique and captured the idea of heroism perfectly. I loved that they recognized heroes on a global level and also heroes within the walls of Hayes. Thanks to you and your staff for creating a community of hope and learning at Hayes.
If only we could spread this across the country.