Oak Meadow celebrated the accomplishments of 37 high school seniors at its graduation ceremony on Saturday, June 14. Nine students and their families traveled to Brattleboro from Vermont, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Florida, and California to attend the event. Other OM graduates live across the U.S. and as far away as Poland, Russia, Thailand, and Jamaica.
The ceremony featured student speech, dance, and music presentations, speeches by OM faculty and a special Acorn Ceremony* . . . and many many happy faces!
*Executive Director Michelle Simpson-Siegel presented each graduate with a golden acorn and delivered the following:
I am honored to tell you about our “acorning” tradition. Behold the golden acorn! These acorns were made by Tarra Rosenbaum, one of Oak Meadow’s first students. When cofounder Lawrence Williams had Tarra as a first grader nearly 40 years ago, he had no idea she would become a successful and celebrated jewelry artist in Manhattan who draws her inspiration from nature. There was simply no way to know.
Similarly, when Oak Meadow, then a brick and mortar school, lost its lease and Lawrence and Bonnie decided to continue to serve their students by putting the curriculum in print and supporting families in homeschooling, they did not know that this would launch them on a journey that included the fight to get homeschooling legalized in the U.S., which ultimately affected not only tens of thousands of Oak Meadow families over the years, but also the estimated 2 million children and families homeschooling today. They simply identified a need and an opportunity to serve others. Oak Meadow continues to serve young people who may be surviving but not thriving educationally.
Recently, we collaborated with Northfield Mount Hermon School to enroll nine students from an orphanage in northern India. As we continue to develop this relationship, I have learned that there are 31 million orphans in India—a staggering statistic. Oak Meadow will not attempt to solve this problem. Nine students out of 31 million seems rather insignificant, unless you are one of those nine children. So, we will continue to do what we can with what we have to give.
And this is the lesson of the acorn: Just because you can’t do everything, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do something. You simply do not know in any moment how your actions or ideas may change the arc of a life, and in turn, change the course of history. Because it is true that from little acorns, mighty oaks do grow. Now I will bestow these acorns on to you as a reminder of this. The cap unscrews and there is a special message inside. Best of luck to you all.