Monday, December 03, 2007

Back in the Park School....

I spent a lot of time last week doing my favorite thing: watching Parkies do what they do.

I met with some freshmen who have settled in and are feeling at home...overwhelmed by this whole end-of-semester and I-didn't-get-my-classes-for-spring thing, perhaps, but at home nonetheless. "I belong here," one of them told me. Made me smile.

I also met with a couple of upperclassmen who have just returned from Jamaica, where they shot a documentary about a woman her neighbors call "The Mother Teresa of Jamaica," an extraordinary story of courage and generosity of spirit. It was a transformative experience for these students to see the incredible optimism and commitment of the people they visited in the face of such hardship and stark poverty -- and it was a moving experience for me to see their work and to know that they will never view the world in quite the same way again.

I attended the Park Scholars Symposium. It's the event where some of the scholars get up and talk about their projects and their service work, and it's always so inspiring....students went to DC to learn about social justice and activism related to environmental issues and to poverty; they traveled to Africa and to Peru to build a library and to teach underserved children in an urban daycare center; they planned and hosted a major fundraiser for a local nonprofit and painted a bright cheery mural on a local elementary school wall....just to name a few. In other words, they contributed of themselves -- their time, their talent, their intelligence, their passion -- to make the world just a little bit better place for just a few of the people who need some help. Pretty cool.

I hung out with the students who are shooting the ICTV show "BS Detectives," watching one of the characters get killed in the Park lobby (hey, all kinds of things go on in the Park lobby)....They're working like ....well, like professionals. And it shows.

I sat down for a two-hour chat with the Park Scholars Alumni Advisory Board, dedicated Parkies who have gone on to great jobs and interesting careers, and who continue to give back to the school.

And I appeared on the annual "faculty" version of the IC Match Game, where host (and producer) Craig Reid continues to lead a cast of characters -- and I do mean characters -- to shoot a game show that is at least as much fun to play as it is to watch (nobody said I was good at it...but believe me, it didn't matter....).

All in all, it was the best confirmation I could imagine that I am glad to be in the Park School. Because for every one of the conversations I had or the events I attended, there were dozens -- hundreds -- of others just as important and inspiring and valuable that I missed, but that mattered just as much.

And that's why I drive up the hill every morning these days so glad to be here, and so glad to be staying.


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11:49 AM  

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