Reflection and hope have been very alive at Woolman this month. Three weeks ago, we gathered as a wider community (students, interns, staff, Board members, alumni, donors, and F/friends of Woolman) to envision the future of Woolman. Facilitated by Drew Smith, the Executive Director of Friends Council on Education, we spent a weekend reflecting on what Woolman does well, what we can do better, and our hopes for the future of our school.
Every semester the Global Thinking and Peace Studies classes take a weeklong trip to the Bay Area called the Radical Learning for Change Trip (Rad Trip). The intention of the trip is to connect classroom themes to real examples of people working for peace and social justice as well as for the students to recognize themselves as agents of change. This Fall we were honored to have trainings, visits, presentations, and engaging workshops with East Point Peace Academy, BAY Peace, Youth Spirit Artworks, American Friends Service Committee, Beehive Collective, Iraq Veterans Against the
I am consistently amazed each semester by the creativity and effort that students put into their projects. After so many years of projects, it seems like they might all have been done, but students always find a new topic or a unique angle to examine.
In Peace Studies class, students have been learning about intersecting systems of oppression and organized resistance movements. One of our focuses is to debunk the creation myths of the United States Empire, which was founded on genocide and slavery. In projects class, students have been studying Native American rights, the impacts of continued colonization, and contemporary resistance movements centered on indigenous leadership. Earlier this semester, we attended an annual Indigenous Peoples’ Day celebration in Nevada City organized by the Tsi Akim Maidu. As
Welcome to the Woolman Educational Garden--a place of laughter and growth, a place where the word drought is never spoken in front of the plants (that would be rude), and a place where harvesting your first vegetable reminds you that all the hard work was undeniably worth it.
I work in the shared center of this venn diagram — Woolman is the only school that is both Quaker and a semester program. I’ve worked at other Quaker schools and other semester schools, and being here, I feel so much gratitude, as I see the best of both in Woolman.
I am responsible for taking care of 236 acres, 46 structures, pastures, a-frames, a dining hall, soccer field, bathhouses, 2 ponds, forest…..and I love my job, but when I describe my work to those outside Woolman these are the least of the responsibilities that I speak of. I am also a teacher, an activist, a mentor, a student, an elder, and a friend. These are the roles that make my job worth it every day, I am the grounds and maintenance supervisor at the Woolman Semester School.
Picture this.... April rain. April rain heavy. April rain bulky. April Snow. The garden apprentice from Tinseltown gasps. Eyes wide. It is her first snow. Before this, white April had only been a dream. As she dashes for the door she slips on the kitchen floor already muddy from the rainy night before. She giggles with glee, excited about the plump snowflakes and rattled from her near fall. Outside the snowflakes fall thick on our hair, dazzling our smiles.