On Thursday night, after seven eventful years, Ellinore graduated from middle school. The Grammar School graduation ceremony is a beautiful thing. Each child does an individual or collaborative performance. And a teacher (chosen by the child) reads a brief testimonial about each child.
When Nan graduated from TGS in the spring of 2011, the kids arrived on a Vermont hay wagon. Ellinore’s class arrived in a fleet of Prius sedans. The gesture echoed well a commitment to environmental responsibility that Mark helped to shape on the strategic planning committee years ago, and that Ellinore and her classmates on the student council helped make a reality.
This inspired group of students and committed adults (Rebecca worked on the legal contract) imagined what now stands on the hill above the upper school: one hundred and sixteen solar panels that generate enough power to meet all the electrical needs of the school, reducing the TGS carbon footprint by 50 megawatts per year.
For the past few weeks Ellinore has been practicing her solo performance with the incomparable Jared Stolper who is deeply committed to cultivating the musical gifts of the children. Her choice was Lewis Watson’s recently released “Into The Wild.” The melody is catchy, and the mood of the song quite well matched with a fourteen year old girl in a red dress and black heels and long blond hair. It was a beautiful moment, Ellie’s singing, that took her parents’ breath away, and that brought her older brother to tears.
Click on the text on the text below to listen to Ellie’s performance, with acoustic accompaniment by Jared Stolper!
Eve McDermott, Ellie’s second grade teacher, looked back at her art portfolio and found a tree with its branches reaching to the sky. She said that the image reminded her of Ellie, who “stands with confidence and tenacity while her interests branch off in many directions.” Eve talked about Ellie’s “grace and intensity as an athlete,” her trustworthiness and loyalty as a friend, her leadership and her ability to get things done. Eve described teaching a math lesson earlier in the week and hearing a beautiful sound coming from the auditorium next to her classroom. “Entranced,” she and her second-grade students “crept to the door to listen to Ellinore sing the song you have just heard. It sounded magical.”
Like a tree Ellinore stands gracefully and with strength. In Eve’s words, “Your roots have been nourished in rich soil, your leafy branches will sustain you. Ellinore, you are clearly ready to “step out into the wild.”