The scene can be a bit overwhelming. Scores of trifold boards fill row after row of tables. Samples of food from different states and countries entice passersby to pause at a project. Students animatedly discuss their research with those so lured by the tasty morsels. Parents trade war stories about late night cutting and pasting to meet display deadlines. Teachers proudly roam the rows, delighting in the culmination of months of effort and mountains of learning. Ahh, Academic Fair.
With Academic Fair so close, I hear the buzz of the various projects. The kindergartners are designing a website about the types of birds that they selected to research. Yes, kindergartners. Yes, designing a website. I am hoping to see presidential bottle buddies. There will be maps of states and maps of countries. Geographic knowledge is essential to good citizenship and can also come in handy at Trivia Night fund raisers. I feel both enthused and a bit embarrassed that Middle School students can conduct science projects that I don't understand. This year the Living Biographies will be performed on the first floor of the mansion. Keep an eye out for Johnny Depp. Some of the Upper School students are working on projects for civic engagement. The Powerpoints, journals, and essays from the juniors' service projects will be available for viewing.
There will be more for you to see than I could possibly describe. Therefore, next Thursday you are invited to the gym to witness the Rivermont educational experience in full regalia. From Early School to Upper School, students will have their work on display and part of the evening's wonder is the visual continuum of the progress that a student makes while studying at Rivermont. The fundamental task of research remains the same, but the content and the presentation become more complex, more intricate, more nuanced. It is refreshing to recognize that there is both a process and a destination that justifies the many hours of toil represented by strips of paper glued to cardboard.