Of course we all have opinions!

Today I was engrossed in contemplating how difficult it is to tell the “bad guys” from the “good guys”. I have had that trouble since I was a little girl watching cowboy movies. It wasn’t that I didn’t have some … Continue reading
Author: 
Mimsy Sadofsky

A lot more than meets the eye

The first two weeks of this school year were blessed with superb weather. It was sunny and cool and the outdoors was full of students who were using the whole campus for their myriad of activities: conversing, reading, taking walks … Continue reading
Author: 
Hanna Greenberg

My First Glimpse of What SVS Is Really About

While I was reading Daniel Greenberg’s essay (“Are 1000 Pictures Worth One Word?”) on why it has been so difficult to convey the SVS experience in film and pictures (http://www.sudval.org/essays/092015.shtml), I found myself thinking about the evolution of my own … Continue reading
Author: 
Foss Tighe

Age Mixing, Another View

During the last Open House, in October of 2015, there was a remarkable interaction. It didn’t surprise me, but it greatly pleased me. Unfortunately, I don’t think the guests who were with me had enough context for what they saw … Continue reading
Author: 
Mimsy Sadofsky

The virtues of failure

If I had to choose one topic to place at the very core of every child’s educational experience, I would have no trouble identifying it: how to deal with failure. Yet, this is the subject most assiduously ignored in traditional … Continue reading
Author: 
Daniel Greenberg

Happy, Healthy, Strong

Author: 
Associated School: 

HVSS does not have an official mission statement; the closest we get is the text of our graduation process, which states that, in order to earn a Certificate of Graduation, a student must prove to a committee that s/he has gained the problem solving skills, adaptability, and abilities necessary to succeed in whatever they are going onto next. This is an imminently sensible goal, honoring as it does the natural richness of humanity by acknowledging that different people will want to live different kinds of lives, and they’ll have to do different things to prepare for it.

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Children as actors in their own lives

When we first enrolled our girls in SVS, I thought the emphasis on having both parents and kids sign things was a little silly or forced. The kids were nervous, not about going to SVS, but how they should sign. … Continue reading
Author: 
Foss Tighe

The Power of Students

A school without students is not really a school. While beautiful and quiet, SVS during the summer can be a bit melancholy, like an empty husk. Hot and humid days don’t make it much better. Yes, summer can be a … Continue reading
Author: 
Silvia Beier

The Goals of Education – 21st Century Version

Ever since I first became involved with education – some sixty years ago! – I have been hearing one constant complaint: our schools do not do a satisfactory job of preparing children to be successful adults in the modern world. … Continue reading
Author: 
Daniel Greenberg

Commencement Speech 2015

Author: 
Associated School: 

I am really honored and flattered to be asked to speak again this year.  It’s always a pleasure for me to fabricate heady rhetoric. So, thanks guys.  But actually, you know, after they asked me to speak, I went to them - maybe it was just Kiran, and I asked him who he would really like to speak, and he said Steve Buscemi, of course.  I found Mr. Buscemi on americanspeakers.com and there was a form to request him as a speaker - the lowest fee you could offer was $5,000, so I offered that and added a note that really I was really only offering $250.  We didn’t get a response.  So you’re stuck with me.  

So, when I was working on this yesterday at school one of our youngest students approached me and asked if he could help, and I accepted the offer, and I’m going to begin with his contribution:

"Here ye, here ye, I am a pirate.  You will be missed.  Maybe see you on a visiting week."

Alright.  Here we are: you’re about to graduate.  Though, it’s a little weird to even call it “graduation” here, isn’t it?  Because - as we all know - at this school the curriculum is responsibility and the method is freedom, and so the content of what a student actually does here - what they “work on” - is different for each one; and ultimately, the curriculum is just their own person, their own genius.  

So - what does it mean to graduate here?  The transcripts we give you say that really only you can tell us.  When I was thinking about this I was reminded of a passage from the prologue to East of Eden by John Steinbeck, which I read over and over again in high school.  (I have done some slight editing to bring Mr. Steinbeck up to date politically.)  Goes like this:  A [person], after [they] have brushed off the dust and chips of [their] life, will have left only the hard, clean questions: Was it good or was it evil? Have I done well—or ill?”

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Hudson Valley Sudbury School

84 Zena Road
Kingston, NY 12401
 
Phone: 845-679-1002
Fax: 845-679-3874