Flipping the Page by Dean of Students Marcela Maldonado
It is fair to say that much of what has consumed this community and the greater New England region for the last month or so has undoubtedly been the surreal nature of the winter weather this year. It has discombobulated this state, and certainly thrown many in our school community for a loop. Members of the faculty have experienced the weather’s wrath acutely in issues faced at home. A number of our students have also felt the unexpected trials and tribulations of this season, as they watch their parents and family deal with things that they simply cannot control.
As of this writing, it looks like we’re past the worst of it, and despite a few minor weather disturbances on the horizon, mostly the news is that things might be inching back to normal. So this is coming to pass, and as we enter the beginning days of March, you can already sense the change in the air, as much in the weather as in the sense of hope that comes when you can proverbially flip the page to the next month of the calendar, waiting with bated breath for what’s to come.
The “slouching towards spring break” feeling around Nobles each year is a palpable mélange of exhaustion, determination, hope, expectation, and even giddiness. It is usually best expressed through the not-to-be-missed Fringe Fest assembly that happens annually during the last couple of days before vacation. This assembly is a wonderful, no holds barred (or as close as we can come to that around here!) expression of fun that highlights the unpredictability and mayhem that can only come as a result of prolonged cabin fever.
Despite being merely two weeks long, spring break comes at such a necessary and opportune moment that it takes on almost a mythical, mirage-like quality. “If I can just get to that last day…” becomes the operating formula for adults and students alike. Whether students participate in any one of the school travel opportunities available to them, or choose to vacation with family or friends, or decide to stay home and simply relax, you can count on a renewed sense of hope and optimism taking over our school community in the days to come as we await for the time to renew and recharge.
As the last quarter commences upon our return from break, many students will take their biggest risks of the year: they will try out for the musical, they will vie for leadership positions in clubs and organizations, they will often choose new advisors for the following year, they will vote for SLC leaders, and they will scramble to be on stage – some for the first time ever! For the members of the senior class, this is the time when reality sets in in profound ways, and so they desperately try to make up for lost time and opportunities. Kids will talk to kids they never have before, and connect with teachers they always wish they had.
Simple pleasures return, as well. Windows open, Frisbees start flying, sitting on the “beach” with friends for even a few minutes becomes the order of the day, and walks from the schoolhouse to the Castle or the MAC are no longer sprints to ward off the cold but moments to be enjoyed. For many students, this is also the time when they realize who their friends really are, and how to hold on to them. The last quarter of the year allows for students to reassess their expectations for themselves, each other, and the institution. And far more often than not, they come to understand what a truly special place Nobles is.
Pre- and post- spring break at Nobles is in many ways a far deeper divide of time and space for most students than even the jump from one semester to the next in the middle of the academic year. As underclassmen approach the end of the school year, and certainly as seniors approach graduation, they are able to reevaluate and actually understand what matters most in ways that they couldn’t while mired in the trenches of the first three quarters of the year. Spring, with all its possibilities (and sunshine, and blooms…), helps to lift the fog and allow clarity to take hold, just long enough for people to see things in new and different ways. It is really no different here in that regard than it is anywhere else, but in this beautiful setting and in this wonderful time in kids’ lives, it is truly something special to witness at Nobles. Can’t wait!