You will often find me in my office early Sunday mornings, answering weekend email, getting the electronic message boards ready, and otherwise preparing for the week ahead. Such was the case this past Sunday, when my eye happened upon a flyer for Oliver!, fabulously staged this past weekend by students from all three divisions. Next to it hung a flyer for the crew program's coming trip to the world-famous Henley Regatta. Down the hall, hundreds of colorful, eclectic ceramic bowls, most of which had been crafted in art studios in anticipation of the afternoon's Empty Bowls Supper, were crammed into the Service Learning Office, awaiting purchase.
At that point, I was inspired to wander around what I affectionately, albeit erroneously, call "my building." I first took note of the recently hung framed photographs of artistic renderings of the first 20 or so digits of Pi, a collaborative project between the math and art departments, before stopping to admire our 3-D Diplomacy Board, handcrafted by students in the Design and Engineering space, thanks to an array of woodworking tools and the 3-D printer. A cutthroat game, by the looks of it, was in full swing.
I wandered over to Advanced Laboratory Research Cooperative poster boards headed by titles unpronounceable to me about topics I can only assume are of the utmost importance to me if not to mankind (pictured above), then down the stairs to the lower level, turning right past a sampling of elegant furniture I'd be proud to own, past a selection of intricate cardboard prototypes I'd be proud to display, and eventually past two robotics arenas, perhaps passing by during the only hour of the past four months when students were not busily building and re-building their machines.
A bit winded but now committed to the full tour, I summoned the elevator to the Big Room, its perimeter of shelves stocked with books, its tables littered with wrinkled copies of Friday's Inquirer, Journal, and Times. Then, down the English corridor, where, nestled under framed photos of the many authors our boys study, I perused personalized versions of Walt Whitman's seminal "Song of Myself" (pictured below). I continued, stopping briefly to admire a student painting of Hamlet's "poor Yorick," which happened to hang under framed certificates documenting the recent gold medal recognitions of the oft lauded student literary magazine Pegasus and the equally decorated school newspaper The Index.
A bit winded but now committed to the full tour, I summoned the elevator to the Big Room, its perimeter of shelves stocked with books, its tables littered with wrinkled copies of Friday's Inquirer, Journal, and Times. Then, down the English corridor, where, nestled under framed photos of the many authors our boys study, I perused personalized versions of Walt Whitman's seminal "Song of Myself."
Down another set of stairs I walked, past student-drawn and labeled maps of the African continent, which directly below an homage to the power of facts authored by founding father John Adams. Then onward to a selection of student-generated "curses" written in Latin, somehow inscripted (toothpicks? Xacto knives? fingernails?) in aluminum, past framed photos of Hallowell lecturers like Tobias Wolfe and Norman Mailer, toward the classroom door at the end of the wall, where I admired original prom photos of Mr. Nostrant, Dr. Nagl, and Dr. Ehrhart among others.
Finally, down another set of stairs past the familiar paintings and watchful eyes of the School's eight previous accomplished and esteemed headmasters. Here I hesitated and wondered, "Would these men recognize the school we have become?" and if not, what might they say? What I was sure of is that these eight would be as proud of our boys as I know our ninth headmaster is.
This reflection sufficiently digested, I concluded my tour where it began: back in my office where I marveled at my newest discovery: that empty buildings can speak with such eloquence ... and so I sat down and wrote this piece. And I felt lucky and humbled to be among you all.
- Matt Green News
- The Big Room Blog