First Middle School Celebration Engages Fairfax Community, Marks New Tradition

On Friday, December 16th at 8:30 in the morning, the high school gym bleachers were full of parents and students. The curtains opened revealing the middle school chorus, in unity, entreating the crowd to “Seize the Day!”

Next, WCAX news anchor Darren Perron appeared on the big screen, welcoming parents and students to the first Middle School Celebration of the year. Principal Tom Walsh, in his opening statement, expressed his hope that Middle School Celebrations would become a great tradition. By the end of the hour-long celebration of student and community achievement, it was clear that these celebrations are here to stay.

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Wyeth Haddock and Lucy Hackett delighted the crowd with Elvis favorite, “Can’t Help Falling in Love with You” on the ukulele. Seventh-grade students read poetry, recounted fall field trips to Mount Mansfield (sixth grade) and Northern Lights Rock and Ice (seventh grade), and previewed this spring’s eighth grade trip to Boston. Students reported on the exploits of the NaNoWriMo writing club, the band and chorus concerts, and fall sports — soccer, cross-country, and Patriots football. The celebration ended with “Mary Poppins” Director Jerry Bailey getting the cast back together — including high school cast members — for one last rendition of “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!”

Every seventh grade student spent time on stage, demonstrating agency and initiative in establishing a positive community environment. There was a real sense of ownership and pride in BFA-Fairfax on display from the students, and we sincerely believe that pride was obvious to family members in the audience!  Students showed grace and generosity in welcoming new middle school teachers Melody Wilkins, Ashley Barnes-Cota, and Karen Shearer to BFA-Fairfax, and calling them to the stage to receive a small gift.  Perhaps most exciting was the reaction of sixth and eighth grade students, who could be heard plotting components of future Middle School Celebrations as they exited the gym. Each grade will be responsible for leading one celebration per year; this first celebration would not have been so successful without the leadership of seventh grade teachers Michelle Messier, Emily Wills, Jerry Bailey, and Jen Skerrett.

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The school and community look forward to the next celebration at the end of the second trimester!


Target 4 – Engaged Community Partners. FWSU staff and students will collaborate, innovate, create and conceptualize ideas and learning with local, regional, state, and global partners to make a difference in their community, state, and world

Action step – Plan and manage instruction around problems relevant to students and their community and develop solutions for authentic audiences.

Indicator of success – Students challenge convention and make contributions in their community, state, and world.

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