I know, it looks like chaos.
On Wednesdays we have vehicles full of students heading on and off the hill at all hours. More so than usual, there is a constant flow of boys and vehicles headed up and down the hill. At lunch the kitchen, which usually has a hive of hungry boys circling for food, is quiet. Additionally, the classrooms are quiet; now that I think about it, the whole school is quiet. Pleasantly, the only thing interrupting the silence is the occasional dog barking as another car comes back from its trip off the hill. It’s not a normal day, but it’s a good one for us.
You see, one of the many things I love about The Deck House is its flexibility. Now for those of you who knew Ned you know that flexibility may not have been exactly his strong suit, but as someone who worked with him I can tell you he was indeed very flexible when it came to offering his boys more things to do.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m pretty sure that Ned is rolling is his grave with the way we have our Wednesdays structured, but I’m sure that once I was able to get the literal fireworks to stop coming out of his pipe, I could get him to see the wisdom of our ways.
Wednesdays are an opportunity for our students to focus more directly on our community service and co-curricular programs. Community service is a hallmark of the School, dating back to the early 1980’s when we started helping set up and break down the tables at the local Red Cross Blood Drive (which we still do, by the way, and they may be serving the same cookies!) Similarly, Co-curricular programming has been a part of the school for decades, dating back to since the mid 1990’s. We feel very strongly that these programs help us educating the entire student. Knowing that many of the lessons taught at Deck House have nothing to do with the classroom, we have expanded these programs to help foster a sense community; community here on the hill, on the peninsula and, hopefully, beyond.
On any given Wednesday we have students preparing and serving food at the Bath Area Kitchen Table, additionally our guys spend time at the Boothbay Community Center assisting locals with computer and other tech issues. In the spring we may have the boys help locals with spring cleaning of their yards, or head off to Morris Farm for light grounds keeping help. These are not one off visits, these are weekly commitments we make to these non-profits, which not only help the other organizations, they also help our young men understand the symbiotic nature of relationships.
Additionally, in our co-curricular program we are doing work with Bigelow, learning Tai Chi, playing piano, developing computer skills, building hockey rinks, welding go carts, and mapping trails to name just a few activities. The goal is not only for the boys to learn about their chosen art, but also about themselves. Most of these programs are taught by locals, not our staff, so needless to say there is a constant flow of people visiting us on Wednesdays. Cars coming and going, students on and off the hill at odd times, no-one sitting down at lunch, and no academic classes.
Some seriously engaging and powerful chaos, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.