If you ask a local, “What’s your favorite month of the year in New England?” the answer “February, of course!” is highly unlikely. While this winter has grossly underdelivered when it comes to snow, the early darkness, gray skies, frozen ground, sleepy gardens, and bare tree branches stark against the horizon have remained steadfast pieces of our traditional winter landscape. On this frigid Friday, we seem frozen in the midst of the doldrums of winter.
However, there’s something beautiful and dramatic this time of year when things are so quiet and cold outside—in the woods and the school garden surrounding BDS—while inside our walls, things are heating up. One-hundred thirty-eight middle school bodies and minds are on fire with energy and ideas, and as sometimes happens in middle school, they become absorbed in themselves, their friends, and their passions.
Early each morning this winter inside the Palandjian Arts Center, the cast of the seventh and eighth-grade musical Suessical Jr. are reciting their lines, staging scenes, and dancing to new choreography. The piano is vibrantly playing to the tune of The Biggest Blame Fool, while soloists belt out the lyrics. The student stage directors are busy making sure everything’s in order, while the tech crew is diligently following the script to sync all of the lighting and sound perfectly with each scene.
Later in the day, upstairs in the Kiva, Capstone projects are taking shape. Eighth graders receive emails from professionals in their field of interest with an enthusiastic “yes!” to their interview requests. A new session of middle school clubs is underway at moving at full speed. Ballet Club has students stretching and pointing their toes on the barre, while our Echo literary and arts magazine editors are soliciting creative works from peers, and Chess Club competitors are studiously facing off in the Erskine Library strategizing about their next key move.
The cold outside certainly can’t dampen our students’ warmth of caring. This week, a kindergartner who I happened upon in the hallway outside Coolidge Hall at lunchtime was standing stock still, shyly waving her small hand at someone seated amidst a big and boisterous crew of middle school students. Finally, her sixth grade cross-graded buddy spotted her and, pausing her conversation, got up, waved back, and then walked over to give her a great big hug. At that moment, that sixth grader set her ego aside, and the circle of friends widened.
It may be cold outside, but inside BDS, we stay warm together.