I traveled to Syracuse, New York, last week to to share some workshops with a group of lower school faculty. I attended this school from third grade through 12th grade. Stepping back on this campus, my mind, emotions, and senses were in high gear! This independent school made learning fun and taught me that I mattered as a learner and as a person. The school has changed since I attended in the Dark Ages. The faculty are new, buildings have been built, and classrooms have moved, but the memories of my time there were crystal clear.
I looked in the music room that used to be my third grade classroom. I remembered Mrs. Johnson’s candy jar and the purple desk for the VIP student. In that room, I learned to have fun with learning. I walked in the art room and the smells transported me back to the days in which I tried rather unsuccessfully to form clay into something recognizable. I learned that art was not my gift, but I marveled at those whose gift it was. The soccer fields seemed so much smaller than I recalled, but the teamwork that occurred on those fields taught me that though you don’t always win, what you do in practice and a game matters. Though I knew that I loved the school, my visit reminded me of the power of one little school on a young girl so many years ago. Manlius Pebble Hill School shaped who I would become.
Our graduates frequently return to Trinity School and search for familiar faces of friends and of beloved teachers. Though changes are inevitable, the heart and soul remain the same. They talk about the interactive activities, the teachers they adore, and the funny stories of their past. Remembering the past, they will smile. I know I did.