Only two promises: no speeches and no snacks. In the improvisational spirit of ACMA (and C.E. Mason before that), this Friday we’re opening the doors to the Quonset Hut to welcome in any former students and staff from our school to connect with each other, tell stories, and take one last tour of campus before the wrecking crew arrives in July.
I understand the powerful connections folks have with our little school. Some places talk about school spirit; we talk about the profound power of love and art. This year, as I’ve had the pleasure capture some of the stories from ACMA’s past, I’ve been privileged to talk with more than a few former students and staff and without exception the memories they share (salty and sweet) buzz with emotion
Kreeya told me about walking through the doors of the old C.E. Mason school, past Mary’s front office, following the bend in the hall, past four or five Mona Lisa renditions, and arriving at the Tom Marsh Gallery. “The gallery was initially conceived as an homage to a favored teacher,” she said. “It also provided a creative use for a space that was essentially a storage unit for years. Students had almost total control of creative processes at our school.”
James reached out in the fall and said “for me personally, I believe that staff and group of peers are the only thing that kept me engaged enough to not just walk away from traditional high school and get my GED and/or burn my home high school down.”
Peter shared a video with me, smiling as he told me that as the story of ACMA got told, for sure Mr. Sikking’s performance of “Santa Baby” needed to be a part of that grand adventure.
Friday I hope we’ll hear more of those stories.
And if we do, if alumni arrive willing to share meaningful memories, I think we’ll be ready. Some of our current student filmmakers will be on hand ready to commit those stories to film; my current yearbook staff, chroniclers of our school’s history, will be there to interview former students and staff; and we’ll do our best to give an opportunity to everyone who has a tale to tell.
I’ll do my best to have some photos and other artifacts on hand to help melt away the years, and depending on how many folks visit, I’ll host a few tours of the main building, so people can say their goodbyes to Mona Lisa, well, Mona Lisas to be more apt.
And if people can’t make it, not to worry; we’ll do our best to continue to celebrate our school and the stories that make up our history online as well as in person. We’re building an archive now, and look forward to sharing more as we dance toward the future together. No speeches. No snacks. Just spirit.
For anyone planning to attend our little gathering on Friday, February 1, 2019, we’ll open the Quonset Hut doors at 6PM. There’s no set program, so feel free to drop by any time before 8PM when we’ll call it a night (at least on campus; I’ll wager a few might adjourn to a coffee and conversation afterward).