Last week the Irish-American author Colum McCann came to Portland on a mission. He wanted to tell the story of Narrative 4, an organization of authors and artists dedicated to mending our social fabric through cultivating “fearless hope” and “radical empathy” in youth (Colum co-founded Narrative 4 and currently serves as president). He also came to hear the story of Waynflete, because of what he had been told about the school.
Colum held a public talk in Franklin Theater in the evening, in which he read from several of his novels, including his most recent one that is just now heading to publication, and discussed Narrative 4. Narrative 4 had sent an advanced team to train 27 Upper School students as facilitators of their signature activity, the story exchange. In his talk, Colum referred to Waynflete as a “visionary school” for our work promoting dialogue as an essential skill and mindset, which he saw as well aligned with the goals of Narrative 4. Continue reading “A Story Exchange: Colum McCann Meets Waynflete”
THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH by Thornton Wilder
Guest Director: Robbie Harrison; Production support: Tiki Fuhro; Tech director: Chris Fitze; Costumes: Barbara Kelly
Auditions and crew sign up days: Monday, Feb. 26 (the day we return from break!) and Tuesday, Feb. 27, 3:30 – 5:30 – Franklin Theater; Audition packets and copies of the play are in the library and in the drama office – A – 018 – contact: Tiki Fuhro – firstname.lastname@example.org
Performances: April 26, 26, 28 at 7:00pm – Franklin
Continue reading “Upper School spring play auditions!”
Over the past two weeks, students in the Upper School experienced the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in very tangible ways. The celebration began with the our annual Spirit of MLK award, which was conferred on Upper and Middle School students who were recognized in an essay contest.
Isaaq Bashir’s (‘19) winning essay is linked here.
Grace Devine’s (‘19) winning essay is linked here.
Owen Hoffsten’s (‘18) winning essay is linked here.
The award recipients attended the MLK Jr. dinner hosted by the Portland chapter of the NAACP. Waynflete’s Atia Werah (‘18) was the dinner’s emcee. More information about that event is linked here.
On Tuesday, the 23rd, Waynflete alum Bay Love (‘00) was interviewed by two seniors, Atia Werah and Nick Jenkins, on stage at assembly about his work promoting racial equity.
A video of the full assembly is linked here.
More information about Bay, the Racial Equity Institute for which he works, and the assembly itself is linked here.
An assortment of faculty and student reflections on the assembly is linked here.
A school-wide conversation about race and racism followed Tuesday’s assembly in homerooms immediately following the assembly. Then, at Thursday’s assembly, a group of students delivered a powerful message to their peers and teachers, in essence, challenging our community to live up to our mission-based commitment ensuring that Waynflete is a community to which we all belong. It was a fitting reminder of the work that remains if we as a society and as a school are to live out the true meaning of Dr. King’s vision.
On Tuesday, the Upper School will celebrate the spirit and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., at our annual MLK assembly. Our guest is Bay Love, who graduated from Waynflete in 2000. After earning a BA in Latin American Studies from Wesleyan University, an MBA from University of North Carolina, and a Master’s in Public Policy from Duke University, Bay has been consulting with organizations seeking to incorporate principles of racial equity.
Currently Bay is an organizer, trainer, and projects manager with the Racial Equity Institute. More information about the Institute and Bay can be found on the REI website linked here. Earlier this month, Bay led a powerful workshop with the Upper School team in which he presented compelling data documenting the systemic roots of racial inequity. A sampling of the data is linked here. If you are interested in taking a deep dive into this topic, REI is hosting two workshops in Maine in February and March. Information on those workshops is linked here.
The assembly on Tuesday will take the form of an interview. Seniors Nick Jenkins and Atia Werah will join Bay on stage for what promises to be an important conversation. Atia and Nick will ask Bay about his work and how he came to do it and why he sees racial inequity as a detriment to the quality of life for all members of a society, regardless of identity. After the assembly, students will gather in advising groups for lunch and conversations about what they heard.
Special thanks to Nick and Atia for hosting the conversation as well as Jimmy Manyuru who has organized the event.
During the last round of class meetings, Associate Director for Student Life Jimmy Manyuru and I invited Waynflete juniors and seniors to apply for an opportunity to take on perhaps the most pressing challenge of our time—civic dysfunction.
While our nation faces many urgent challenges right now—including promoting economic opportunity, environmental sustainability, and social justice while avoiding nuclear war—none arguably is as urgent as the need to strengthen our democratic institutions so that we can as a society meet those pressing challenges thoughtfully, effectively, and fairly for the benefit of all.
For the past eight months, a planning team that includes Jimmy, Assistant Head for Student Life Lydia Maier, and me has been developing a cross-community response to this challenge. At the root of the dysfunction are the deep divisions among US citizens along lines of identity and viewpoint, paralyzing divisions that have raised an essential question on which our future as a society depends:
Can we harness the wisdom and power inherent in the great diversity of the American people to revitalize our democracy, mend the social fabric, and live out the true meaning of our nation’s promise of liberty and justice for all?
Continue reading “Waynflete Asks “Can We?””