Moving on: Charter School, Class of 2009
Although rain threatened all morning, it was an afternoon of sunshine and celebration at this past Saturday's graduation ceremony of the Martha's Vineyard Public Charter School, Class of 2009.
Annie Wirtz, Sydney Dunbrack, Jessey Myers, Dylan Huck (partially shown), and Whitney Fulp. Photos by Ralph Stewart
Graduations at the Charter School are unique. Following in their own tradition, the graduations are shaped by the individuality of the graduating class.
The welcome address delivered by director Bob Moore referred to each graduate by their first names, one of the many demonstrations that this was an intimate, individually oriented event.
Praising the graduates' work in the community, Mr. Moore cited their volunteer efforts, ranging from work done at an orphanage in Mexico, to dinners served at Elderly Housing.
"For us to learn about ourselves, and to better understand our community, we extend ourselves to others," said Mr. Moore. "We embrace others, their ideas and beliefs, by engaging our time, minds and hearts with them. You have shown us a caring way to do that on many occasions."
The Charter School encourages students to do more than meet academic requirements. There is an emphasis on developing trust, respect, self-determination, choice, responsibility, and community. Before graduating, students complete independent projects, both within and outside of mentorships. While giving students so much control over aspects of their education inside of school, the Charter School also encourages them to seek knowledge outside of the classroom, and outside conventional channels, if the spirit moves them. The goal is to ensure that education does not end with graduation and to promote life-long learning.
Science teacher Jane Paquet, mother of graduate Gus Paquet-Whall, was chosen by the graduates to give the commencement address. Ms. Paquet noted that the door of the Charter School would never be closed to these graduates. Citing Newton's First Law, "Matter is neither created nor destroyed," she said, speaking about the way things transform without anything being lost.