I’ve now been writing this column again for a year and a half, I think, and this is the first time that I truly don’t know where to begin. There is so much going on, some tragic and some joyous. It makes it difficult to write a meaningful, cohesive column.
Of course, the tragedy in Parkland is heavy on my heart and mind. A school shooting affects me on so many emotional levels, as it does so many of us. As a teacher, it is my worst fear. The fact that we even have to consider such things as a possibility is overwhelming for me. I’m practical. Stuff happens everywhere. I prepare, I train, I plan. I think about it and I know my plans and options in the event it happens. My heart is heavy for the teachers who have had to face this, most recently in Florida. As a parent, it terrifies me that this is an ongoing and more frequent occurrence, not only in schools but in other large settings. As we send two of our kids off to college next year, the idea of them being out there in the big, bad “real” world worries me. And of course, just as a human being, these tragedies are just too much to accept as commonplace. The words that come to mind for me are compassion and empathy, both because that is how I’m feeling and because those are two emotions that seem scarce these days. I am so glad I work with kids. I see their joy and love and excitement for life every day. They give me hope for our future. But sometimes, on days like last Wednesday, I get overwhelmed with sadness and fear. I don’t have all the answers but I know we can do better that we have been doing when it comes to ending these tragedies. We have to figure it out. It has to stop. Our children are counting on us.
I’ve noticed that there is a movement afoot for a nationwide walkout in schools for 17 minutes at 10 am on Wednesday, March 14. This action, named Enough!#NationalSchoolWalkout is meant as way to demand Congressional action to prevent gun violence in schools. I don’t know what that will look like here on the Island. My kids asked me about it and I told them that I support them walking out if they want to do it. I support such peaceful protests and marches. But they are in high school. They know what is going on and have a right to protest. Maybe it will help move things along. Let’s hope so.
Spindrift Studios recently brought 29 dancers to Worcester for the Diva Dance competition. Students competed in ballet, jazz, contemporary, and hip hop, choreographed by Alise Haigazian, Sophie Hiller, and studio owner, Sandra Stone, and brought home several Ultimate Diamond Awards for their efforts. All of the dancers were invited to Nationals. The Spin Crew won the highest score in their category for a number choreographed by Alise Haigazian. They won the Ultimate Sapphire Award, two Judge’s Choice Awards, and scholarships to an intensive program in New York. Congratulations to all.
The children’s room at the Edgartown library will be closed from Saturday, Feb. 24, through Saturday, March 3, so that they can have a team go in and apply acoustic treatment to the ceiling. However, they still have a couple of offerings coming up. On Friday, Feb. 23, from 3 until 4:30 pm kids are invited to Baking with Elyce. This month she’s making cornflake cupcakes.
Pre-registration is required for this free event, and all supplies will be provided. And on Tuesday, Feb. 27, from 1 to 3 pm kids are welcome to join them in the program room at the library for Tracking with the Trustees. Join the Trustees of Reservations for a lesson on tracking animals during the winter months. Kids will learn about the different imprints animals leave behind across the Island, on farmland, beaches and trails. Pre-registration is not required for this free event, and children under 9 must be accompanied by an adult.
I hope everyone got the chance to see “West Side Story” at the high school last week. Wow! What a show. I had to sit in the very last row up against the back wall on Saturday night because of the crowd, and my understanding is that the Sunday matinee was sold out. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of an event selling out at the PAC before. It was just an absolutely fabulous production. Edgartown kids Elizabeth Williamson and Alex Vasiliadis were amazing as Bernardo and Anita. Emily Hewson and Curtis Fisher were Maria and Tony and were wonderful. And there were so many other outstanding performances. Congratulations to all. The MVRHS theatre department continues to raise the bar for their productions each year. And we, the audience, are most grateful.
As I write this, I’m scheduling a very busy work day to make sure that I get to the last girls basketball game at the high school on time this afternoon. This one will be tough. And I’m not talking about the competition.
Today is Senior Recognition Day and the seniors on the team have been playing together since about fourth grade, when they started playing travel ball together. That’s nine years of togetherness, for the players and the parents. Our girl Kiana Casey will be one of the seniors getting recognized, and she doesn’t usually play a spring sport so this is the last of the last for her. And my husband Don has gone to just about every single game in those nine years, home or away, traveling and cheering with same group of parents for all those years. So yeah, today will be hard. Wonderful. Special. Exciting. And hard. Congratulations to the girls and their families who have done this for so long. Thanks for an exciting ride.
I send you off into the coming week with a quote by Henry James: “Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.” Enjoy your vacation week ahead.