This photo shows the first ever grad class from Centennial School with the blueprints for the new school construction. What makes me think with this is that the excitement of building a new school, we need to remember to continue with the great traditions that have come before. The new school (“a watershed moment”) has the possibility of entering into a new era of public education for all learners through our working groups: “culture, community and connectedness”; “sustainability and citizenship”‘; and “inquiry, innovation and creativity in learning”. These working groups will explore, synthesis and report to the whole staff around each area or topic. Hopefully, this will bring a lasting culture of learning to all members of the school’s community.
Which brings me back to the picture above. This group of 300 students also shared in the possibilities of creating a new school. In the 1966/1967 school year, they were the first graduating class to enter into the shiny new hallways, after making a ‘trek’ 5 blocks away from the old school. The time of change was here (or then, I suppose). Each student, teacher, and other staff would have the opportunity to find the best places in the new school, to create mascots, to build athletic programmes, to create artistic impressions of the time. Many of these traditions have held over 45 years later; some morphing into the background, hidden but constant, in the culture of the school, some became the beacons of the pride a new school brings.
Difficulty comes when the traditions are so embedded in the culture of the school, that they become mercurial. Difficult to describe or grasp, but there, like a ghost constantly whispering something faintly in the hallways that have become a little worse for wear. Which traditions do you keep? Which do you quietly (or not so quietly) discard? I guess the working groups will help with some of these questions, but what will become of our new school culture in 45 years? Will the next group of teachers, students, administrators and staff be creating a newer school, possibly lamenting the loss of the traditions we have yet to create?
I think my next job here is to search out the yearbooks and newspapers from that year and see if there are any similarities between what we are trying to do now and what they did then.