School Year Comes to a Special Close

By Reed Gabhart, Head of the Goshen Campus

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It’s hard to believe we’re in the final days of school. It really is true that “time flies” – especially in a vibrant school of 2-year-olds to 8th graders! And while these last few days are a little more noisy and messy (and there seem to be more popsicles and Krispy Kremes appearing in the halls), the spirit and heart that is so prevalent here on a daily basis is still abundantly present. Students continue to do service work, talent is still being shared, the peacocks just keep getting prettier, visitors are still amazed by our open school, 8th graders are leaving their “memory prints” in lots of places … I could go on and on.

The end of the year is welcome, yet bittersweet. We’ll soon bid a reluctant goodbye to another wonderful class of 8th graders and send them off with a formal dance, lock-in, awards day, and, finally, Goshen Graduation. Some tears will be shed along the way, and also many laughs shared. It has been another wonderful year, and in this final weekly newsletter installment, I want to thank all of you for choosing St. Francis School and for the trust and faith you have in us each and every day. This is a joyful, honorable profession, and we are fortunate to get to practice it in such a magical environment.

On a practical note, I want to share a special project that occurred this week even as we’re tying up the loose ends. 5th grade science teacher Debbie Adkins and her students have been working on a special project with students in a school in the UK. This week they had a very special culminating moment with their science counterparts! From Debbie:

On Wednesday morning, the entire 5th grade class had the wonderful educational opportunity of meeting, via Skype, students from the Ashley C of E Primary School of Surrey, UK.  The SFS community was first introduced to the Ashley School when Head Teacher Richard Dunne visited the Goshen Campus last fall.  A world leader among eco-schools, the Ashley School follows the principles set forth in the book “Harmony: A New Way of Looking at Our World,” written by The Prince of Wales. The book encourages people to make better sense of our relationship with the world through an understanding of the principles of harmony, which are based on the premise that nature is our greatest teacher.

During the students’ study of energy, I collaborated with two teachers at the Ashley School, as well as with our own Garden Coordinator Christine Brinkmann.  Students have learned about energy use and ways we can become more environmentally friendly.  Students at both schools have shared ideas and projects related to electricity, food waste, water, and pollution, so Wednesday’s Skype session was a great way for students to ask questions and learn from each other firsthand.  5th grade students were very inspired and look forward to building on this foundation and expanding their efforts throughout the school next year!

I was in the “audience” for this Skype session and it was so inspiring to see these youngsters from different continents and backgrounds giddy with excitement in seeing their educational peers “across the pond” discussing the same matters of concern (with a little “social aspect” mixed in for good measure!). Kudos to Debbie and Christine for spearheading this, and we look forward to what lies ahead next year!

Look for a special “Thoughts” newsletter later this summer with features on all the special year-end events.  We all already look forward to the wonders that the 2016-17 school year will bring!