An Actual Foundation

Dear Friends-

We are just finishing our first full week here at Randolph, and as always the start of school serves as a simple reminder of why we do what we do. The return of students, bursting with stories and excitement from their summer break, is just wonderful in every way. We get to marvel at their growth, their missing teeth, their new haircuts, the changes in their mannerisms, and the additions to their vocabulary and world-view. We sit back and smile as they reconnect with best friends after a summer away (my daughter Beatrice simply screamed when she saw her friend walking up the porch steps on the first day). We replenish our souls with the joy, enthusiasm, camaraderie, and laughter of their return.

The students were also greeted by a strange new sight (site) this year. In the flats surrounding our ampitheatre the concrete outline of a building had emerged over the summer. The parking lot down by the carriage house has been alive with giant construction machinery, and the students have spent this week wide-eyed as these seemingly Jurassic earth-movers scrape, dig, push, crush, flatten, and dump huge amounts of clay and soil to create the perfect indent for the foundation of our new art/music/library building, The Studios. As I was walking with six-year-old Negatu down to the Carriage House the other day, he leaned against the safety fence, cupped his hands to his mouth and yelled to our Contractor, “Hi Nick!” Nick waved back, and Negatu pointed enthusiastically screaming, “What is that??!!!” Nick looked, smiled, and shouted back, “It’s a Frontloader!” Satisfied, Negatu turned and skipped down the path towards class.

The construction in the middle of our campus is going to be a constant companion to our lives here this fall. The Treehouse teachers have set up observation stations in their classroom for kids to monitor the progress and record what they see over the next few months. A makeshift trail has been created around the outskirts of the upper playground so that students and teachers can travel safely down to the carriage house. Several classes have already taken trips down to the site to learn about the process, and to marvel at some of the mysteries unearthed by the excavating process. Just the other day, Nick and his crew found a 100 year-old cistern covered over in giant, thick slabs of beautiful bluestone! Our amazing teachers have leapt at the opportunity to turn the inconvenience, noise, and disruption of a major construction site in our school into a series of beautiful learning experiences.

It is the giant metaphor to beat all metaphors: our school - which prides itself so deeply in helping kids build a strong social, emotional, intellectual, and academic foundation - has an actual foundation being built smack dab in the middle of our campus! I am beyond thrilled to have this opportunity for us to all watch first-hand the skill, determination, preparation, and hard work that goes into building something lasting and meaningful. I am also looking forward to the excitement of a job-well done when the project is over and we all get to celebrate our brand-new building!

Be well friends,

Ben


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