Welcome to the new school year. We are more excited than ever about starting school this year and about (okay, I admit it) the incredible quality of the student body. Yes, we have new and visiting students, and yes they may only make it better, but what we have already is just so darn good.
We have been working all summer in various and sundry ways. The building and grounds got a bit of a facelift and we made many changes to ensure that the school is prepared to withstand the onslaught of students for another year (or 20).
Not all of our hard work is apparent just from a stroll across campus. Many of our “upgrades” took place in the digital realm. A glance at our new online bookstore instantly pulls you into the magical life of the school. We spent much of the summer working together to make this bookstore as perfect as possible.
Meanwhile, two SVS graduates, Kelly McCarthy and Emma Tunstall, have been helping us step even further into the digital age by scanning and organizing decades (and reams) of school records from before the age of computers. This project has given them plenty of chances to laugh at - and with - some of the staff foibles we keep repeating to this day! Their efforts are part of the new Content Management System we’ll be rolling out early this fall.
Other current and former students have been part of the lovely scene this summer, as well as several staff members. Three huge porches were rebuilt from the ground up. New floors have appeared. The bathrooms have new curtains, new soap dispensers, and new…. toilets! The outdoor landscape has changed in various ways, some sad and some beautiful. But we are ready!
Meanwhile, last week, as the contractors rushed to put the final touches on the summer projects, I witnessed a beautiful scene. The cleaning service we use is run by Matt Warilas, a dynamo of a man who can clean anything and everything, and in the process, leave it better than it was before. For example, one day last week I arrived to see that every cobblestone had been dug out of the turnaround in front of the school. A new kind of material was put between them to avoid the normal weeds/grass/movement, etc., that occur. They were put back in a more beautiful pattern and, should you think this was an enormous job, it was all accomplished on the same day.
Later that day, our buddies, the DiModicas, delivered a mountain of new sand for the sandbox. Matt went out to rake the sand into a perfectly smooth, flat circle. This involved pulling weeds and moving large quantities of sand back and forth -- with just a rake. Matt was observed by another of our contractors, Dave Erickson of Erickson Landscaping. Dave was moving bushes back into place with his backhoe/front loader. Seeing Matt out there pushing sand around with a rake, he swung over and and started hoisting large gulps of sand with his machine.
They worked together, seemingly wordlessly, until the sand was “just right.” I figured they were buddies – most of our contractors know each other by now, and many of them came on recommendations from the others. It was an act of friendship. It turns out it was even more beautiful – an act of one guy helping another guy get a job done much faster. Together, their work was like a ballet.
And now to the most beautiful ballet of all - the school year!