September 29, 2017
Co-authored by Lily Buren-Charkey, Middle School Entrepreneur, and Tamara Mount, Head of School
Throughout the year the middle school takes on the daunting task of raising around ten thousand dollars for our odysseys! This year we are raising money for our River of Spirit Odyssey to Boston, a comparative world religion and science of water study, connecting with many different faith communities and cultures. In the middle school we are guided by the question, “What Does It Mean To Be Human?” Our trips help to answer this question as we experience things first hand, including the task of raising the money.
Raising ten thousand dollars by June seems like an overwhelming task, but with the student run micro-economies it becomes possible. Not only are we cooking and preparing food, we are managing businesses, practicing organizational skills, marketing our products and developing customer relations skills. These business are all about taking the initiative to get things done, which plays into the middle school’s philosophy of independent learning. Micro-economies are small, usually eighth grade student run, businesses. Micro-economies already underway this year include:
- self – developing inner peace and the skills to make peace with others
- environment – instilling an understanding and appreciation for the environment
- cultural – celebrating our differences and knowing our connectedness, compassion for all
- community – living our supportive interdependence
Students will be cooking, living, and learning in the outdoor classroom as well as getting to know their new community.
Day 5 – Sunday
Church service at Ye Shall Know the Truth Baptist Church
Picnic with Mary Lee Bendolph and the folks of Gee’s Bend.
Afternoon – Dr. Bernard Lafayette
Evening – Mr. and Mrs. Bruce Boynton
I rarely go to church and it’s usually on Christmas Eve. The atmosphere in this church was so different from the ones that I have been to with my family. The singing especially was really different. They seem to have so much more energy and it was really powerful to see and be a part of. -Emmy
Being with the people of Gees Bend was like being with people you already knew. -Riley
Mary Lee Bendolph (from Gees Bend) was like the nicest woman I ever met. -Van
(Editor’s note: Today we discovered Van’s natural talent for quilting. Get that boy some sewing needles!)
Dr. Lafayette’s stories were amazing and he and his wife were so friendly. It’s hard to comprehend that of everything he endured in his career, the scariest thing was riding a horse. He was very funny, too. Afterward, I got his autograph and he wrote “To Leah, the future is in your hands.” Then I asked him if he had known Septima Clark from the SCLC and he did!!! I am so happy. Estatic, even.
Dr. Lafayette: freedom fighting, snake holding, AK-47 swallowing, horse fearing, badass. -Mason
Hearing Lafayette’s story showed me that even the small contributions you make toward equality are worth it. -Huxley
Just thinking about how incredibly courageous [Dr. Lafeyette] was. Until now I don’t think I’ve grasped how crazy powerful nonviolence is. He protected a man that beat him, pointed a gun, and planned for his murder. I would never have the intense dedication, power, patience, and courage to do that now but I hope someday that I will.[Dr. Lafayette] started talking about fear and how sometimes you find yourself in situations and have to stand up even if you don’t know the consequences. -Zoe
Day 1 – Wednesday
What a day. After a swift and jubilant flight to Chicago we found ourselves with a 4 hour delay. We did a little terminal surfing, Starbucks slurping, card playing, aeronautic cuisine tasting, and generally did basically everything terminals 1 and 2 had to offer at O’Hare International.
But we made it, got our beautiful vans, and drove to our Birmingham home, The Hargis Retreat Center. We sang, we dialogued about why we have come, and read from Eric Holder’s analysis of our countries racial challenges. Then we packed everyone off to bed…we hope…Spirits are high, generosity is aplenty. We are ready.
Math Day at Hilltop, Saturday, Feb 11 from 9 -11:30 am. Bring a dish to share for lunch and we’ll provide pizza.
Learn how math is taught the Montessori way. Parents will be treated to a journey of our math curriculum through the years, from toddler to eighth grade, with ample opportunity to ask questions along the way.
Meanwhile Hilltop students are invited to a very special, FREE, Circus and Storytelling Workshop with local performers, Bill Forchion, Billy Higgins and Kali Quinn in our Arts Barn. With the help of these talented performing professionals, the children will stage a performance that very morning after the math presentations. You won’t want to miss that!
RSVP by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with the number of adults for the math presentation.
Join us for an evening of courage, elocution, and fine words. It’s the Middle School Poetry Night, and you are invited. Students will share selections from their work written over the past 8 weeks of study as well as a selection of short poetic films.