Good evening everyone and thank you for coming out tonight. Thank you for coming out to support Campbell Montessori.
I asked my wife what I should talk about tonight. She told me it didn’t matter as long as I was brief. I said it wasn’t in my nature, but I would do my best.
I just wanted to take a moment to remind us all why we are here tonight. This event is a celebration of our community, and has been since its inception in 1992 or ’93 when a small group of parents gathered in my parents’ home for a dinner and an impromptu auction.
The community of parents here has long recognized what our school is and is not. I occasionally get prospective parents touring through the school who seem to ask or expect us to make their children smarter. We have these amazing materials, after all, and these wonderful classrooms. But we cannot do that. We cannot manufacture intelligence. We cannot manufacture imagination. We cannot make manifest what is not there.
So what can we do? We can carefully and intentionally prepare an environment for growth, discovery, and learning. We can provide guided experiences in the environment. We can make the pathway to potential clear, open, and inviting. And it is there in those experiences (and you know this from your own lives as adults) that you discover the extraordinary things that were in you the whole time.
My mother tells the story of touring an administrator from another area school through some years ago. They stopped at an observation window in the primary in time to watch a five-year-old see a three-year-old struggling to tie an apron. The older child approached the younger, asked if he could help, and proceeded to tie the apron without advice, without prompt, without being told to by an adult. The visiting admin looked at my mom and asked, “How do you get the children to do that?” My mother’s answer, and the one I will keep on telling you, was, “Well, you know, it is in us do that.” It is in us to help and provide service to people in need, we only need the opportunity to express it.
That scenario plays out in different ways in the toddler room, the primary, the elementary, and the middle school. Just yesterday, the middle schoolers were working on the stools which you see here for sale, and the first pair finished their work. The first thing they asked when they realized that they were finished and everything was put away, was not, “Hey, I’m done. So, I can do whatever I want now, right?” or “I’m going to kick back in the easy chair with my iPad now.” It was, “So, we can go help, right?” They only need the opportunity to express it.
It is through the independence of the classroom that we discover the interdependence of the community. And that is what we are here for tonight: to celebrate our community and to recognize our interdependence. You rely on us to prepare and maintain the environment of the school for your children. We rely on you for support.
If nothing else, please celebrate our community tonight. Celebrate what it means to be Campbell Montessori.