Dear Walden Families,
I am still thinking about my time with Jo Ann Allen Boyce at last Saturday's Family Literacy Festival. For those of you who were not able to attend, Jo Ann was a member of the Clinton twelve, a group of high school students who integrated a public high school in Clinton, Tennessee, on August 28, 1956. She wrote a children's book about her experience called The Promise of Change—One Girl's Story in the Fight for School Equality.
During the time leading up to our talk and afterward, Jo Ann repeatedly commented on this community. She said that she had visited a lot of schools, and that her observation was that there was something REAL about Walden, which just wasn't always the case. She felt every person she had interacted with was a genuine person, and she said she could tell that the contributions and learning that are taking place here are truly important. While many at Walden believe this and are committed to this work every day, it struck me that this would be her takeaway.
Jo Ann and I spent the last hour of the Literacy Festival on stage together in the community room. She discussed an often forgotten or unknown moment in history with a captive multigenerational audience. A story that needed to be shared. When she finished speaking, the crowd gave her a standing ovation, and we all knew that we were changed by being together.
On Saturday, there were moments like this across the campus. Whether it manifested in joy, connection, laughter, discovery, appreciation, or deep emotion, this day designed to celebrate Walden's love and connection to story surpassed our expectations, and we can easily see it becoming a Walden tradition.
Ideas like this begin somewhere, and the collective vision and expertise of Jaime Boust, Tara Holmes, Stacie Chambers, and Birthe Landerer is something I am truly grateful for. Thank you also to Jennie Newton, Carlie Johnston, Vicky Cabildo, and Liz Spies who took on leadership roles for the event or the book fair, and everyone who volunteered for a shift or two last week. Thank you to our community creatives and authors, Chris Provenzano, Dan Povenmire, Dave Wasson, and Theresa Thorn for sharing your time and talent with us. Special thanks to Walden alumnus Wesley Kerstein for hosting a workshop and donating the proceeds from his comic book sales to the Walden Fund. Our alumni can always come home to Walden, and it was especially heartwarming to see Wesley's Walden classmates come out to support him.
Parent-teacher conferences are next week. We will have a noon dismissal on Wednesday, March 13. The school will be closed Thursday, March 14 through Tuesday, March 19. The Village will be open with advance reservation for the full day, and on a drop-in basis for the duration of your conference.
Have a lovely weekend,
Head of School
"Be true to your work, your word, your friend." ~Henry David Thoreau