Celebrations and Farewells

Monday, 23. June 2014

by Daniel Davis Wood

Today was a day of laughter and tears at the Ecole. The morning brought students and staff together for the End-of-Term Assembly and the annual Farewell Assembly, and the evening gave students a chance to slip back into their formal clothes to attend the Seniors’ Dance, the last large social gathering of the current academic year.

As happens several times a year, a number of students brought classwork and creativity to share with the rest of the Ecole community at the End-of-Term Assembly. The event began with presentations from Suthichay and Louise, who spent this term collaborating on the design of a three-storey house in Maria’s Architectural Drawing class. The four students who attended the Schools of the Future conference in May — Annabelle, Arik, Leon, and Louise — introduced a video that was shown at the conference and featured several other Ecolianers discussing their experiences here at the school, and representatives of the Skitouring Hike (pictured above) also introduced a video of the six incredible days they spent amongst the glaciers of Switzerland. Both videos are available on the right-hand side of this page.

After the videos were over, RoyDan, one of this year’s gardening interns, gave a presentation on the agricultural work that students completed during the Farm Hike a couple of weeks ago, and Annabelle returned to the stage to present the findings of her Source Theme project. Students taking Source Theme are required to conduct an independent research project focusing on a topic or an issue that they find important: Annabelle studied the extent to which the Ecole imports food from countries and companies whose labor conditions do not cohere with Ecole philosophy. Finally, to round out the End-of-Term Assembly, three students shared their musical talents with the crowd. First up, Mats introduced a piece of digital music he produced as a result of his independent studies in sound production — a mash-up of a couple of songs, taking the vocals from one and the instrumentals from the other, which you can download here as an MP3. Then Jody and Ami offered a spin on musical tradition, taking to the piano to play a jazzed-up version of Mozart’s Turkish March.

An official Farewell Assembly followed the End-of-Term Assembly, allowing all departing students to stand up and discuss what they most appreciate about their time at the Ecole in front of the other members of the school community. Without fail, the Farewell Assembly elicits powerful emotions from both the speakers and the listeners — often wistful sadness as it begins to sink in that a number of people will be leaving our community for good, but also great joy as the leavers reminisce on some of their favorite moments at the Ecole. The farewells continued throughout the day, well into the afternoon and evening, until the Senior’s Dance brought everyone together again to forget about the permanence of some of the goodbyes and to simply spend a few hours enjoying good music and the company of good friends.