Out with the old and in with the new, Wellesley High School, in Wellesley, MA will tear down the old school. No need to worry that education is going down the tubes in this town. Wellesley will soon have a state-of-the-art high school right next door. But before the February demolition, beloved former English teacher, Jeanie Goddard, and community member, Gig Babson, organized a spectacular celebration, Turn Out The Lights, to mark the historic transition.
Thousands of alumni and community members traveled from all over the country to participate in a multitude of stimulating panels, seminars, musical, sports and other events to celebrate the talent Wellesley continues to nurture. As a ’76 alum, I joined an esteemed roster of alumni to lead a couple of seminars on documentary filmmaking and digital media to the deeply engaged and creative students. By the end of the seminar, the students created their version of their Wellesley experience on Storify.
There were so many highlights in my 36-hour immersion into Wellesley High School: seeing dear old friends and family, meeting new friends and discovering the diverse and successful paths many take, the U.S. Foreign Policy panel with the Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Politics at the Harvard Kennedy School, Nicholas (Nick) Burns, ’74 and the other talented Wellesley alums.
But another highlight was a bit more spontaneous. As I went to visit the cafeteria, after a more than 30-year absence, I heard this infectious rhythm and felt this powerful force of nature. In the hallway a group of highly-spirited young women, The Wellesley High School Thunder Step Squad, were practicing for the next day’s pep rally. I couldn’t resist pulling out my trusty phone and capturing what I saw. I was deeply inspired by these young ladies, not only their physical prowess, but their thoughtful approach to working as a team.
As the bleak stories on the future of America continually grab headlines, after spending a day with these kids, I am deeply heartened about this new generation of young talent.