... “The Tree.” Standing 14 feet tall, it was a glistening fountain of copper, its branches radiating out 16 feet above the heads of the crowd. Attached to every branch were wooden leaves on which students had written their answers to the question, “What do you love about Shady Hill?” They covered every aspect of the School, with all the best things represented: the library on a rainy day, Dona Nobis Pacem, football, GHOST, Hades play, Mt. Monadnock, Greece, math problems, being welcomed in the morning, poetry, art, sandbox, recess, campus. Phonic spellings abounded: liberre, frns, OSM (awesome). Groups of students read some of the answers aloud so everyone could get a sense of what their friends and fellow students value about Shady Hill.
Music teacher Kabir Sen led the community in a special song that he wrote for the event. “I tried to make the song touch on our history as a school, while still hopefully keeping it fun, lyrically attainable, and not too difficult to sing. It is my hope that it represents our school well.” He scored a bulls-eye. Students sang with gusto. Parent and singer-songwriter Tanya Donelly wrote A Porch on Quincy Street, and performed it with her husband Dean Fisher, former faculty Deb Polansky, and the Shady Hill Blue Chorus. The crowd chimed in on the catchy chorus and appreciated reliving noteworthy moments in Shady Hill’s evolution.
Much to everyone’s amazement, who should materialize right in our midst but the time-traveling Hockings! With both joy and disbelief, Ernest and Agnes marveled that their experiment had not only endured for 100 years but that it had grown and thrived so. Agnes trepidatiously handed Ernest something from the Mayor of Cambridge—a summons, she worried aloud. But it turned out that (thanks to some advanced, behind-the-scenes work) the Mayor had declared February 26 as “Shady Hill Day” in Cambridge in honor of its centennial and its role as a venerable Cambridge institution.
The day would not have happened without inspired vision, dogged determination, and a supreme team effort. For the tree, major thanks go to Zeke Brown, Marcie Campbell, Maureen Finnigan, and Via Lambros. For the leaves, thanks to John Segar for cutting 520 in time for students to write on them. For the commemorative music, hats off to Kabir Sen and Tanya Donelly (and band). And an all-around thanks to the many parents, faculty, administrators, facilities crew, and students who helped make the day a huge success.
The celebration was a warm embrace of the School and community we love—an all-around hug. To close the event, the Student Board stepped forward to announce a gift they had selected for every student to mark the day and the School’s centennial—a tote bag emblazoned with the Shady Hill logo and “100 Years.” Happy 100th Shady Hill!