100 Nights has come and gone and we are now in the final stretch to graduation. Tears have dried, laughter has faded, but the memories of both remain along with the vision of happy and proud seniors celebrating their connections to each other and to the entire SBS community.
I remember this class in 7th grade when they loved to dive into deep conversations. This is the group that gave presentations--extending far beyond the typical 10 minutes to an entire double period--on student-chosen topics of teaching gender and sexuality in schools. This is the group that chose the read-aloud If You Come Softly and took a hard look at racism in the relatively recent past (the book was written in 1998) and at the time. This is also a group where they sustained a year-long interest in each other’s original stories shared progressively each week during independent writing time, and teared up a little on their last day together.
Membership in the class gradually increased year to year, adding both energy and variety of life experience, and they continued to learn and grow together, developing their authentic selves and the principles upon which they are building their lives. Recently I found myself subbing in Karen Pleasant’s International Baccalaureate (IB) History II class. I did not need to do much more than fetch two Chromebooks and take attendance because they collaborated in looking up and sharing information on all the questions Karen had left for them, clarifying where need be, and then gradually falling silent as they turned to the last question on which they were to reflect individually. Even though I’ve come to expect this, I am still impressed with their knowledge, confidence, willingness to admit when they didn’t know something and find a way to learn, and support each other throughout.
This exactly parallels their work to gradually shape their school throughout their six years here. Katie and others have been instrumental in the work to reform our dress code, and Nikki, Luna, Kira, Jane, and Tiaa have been critical to our ongoing work to better understand and apply intersectional feminism in our school and in our lives.
Among the seniors’ hopes for 100 Nights is that they work hard and successfully to leave the world a better place. On every International Women’s Day, I find myself looking back over my (now 35) years in this school and reflecting on the cumulative power that our graduates bring to the world. The Class of 2020 will be a powerful addition to that community. I have every faith they will make that hope come true.
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