September 18, 2020

Dear Northern Light Community,

Earlier today, I joined up a read-aloud with the fantastic second graders – a perfect way to begin a Friday morning. We read the book “I am Yoga,” about a child using the practice of mindfulness and relaxation to imagine new possibilities for herself. Towards the end of the story, the main character says: “I am yoga. I can stand up for me. I can stand up for others. I can stand up for peace.”

Upon hearing this line – and listening to the second graders define what yoga means to them – I was immediately brought back to the rich and beautiful Morning Circle last week, celebrating the 31st birthday of Northern Light School. Before sharing some anecdotes from the circle – which included birthday hats, alumni testimonials, and appearances form from A’s legend Vida Blue (surprising kids with gift certificates for ice cream at Fentons Creamery) and long time NLS supporter Mr. Cornell Maier – I want to say a few words about the symbolism of this particular birthday, in this moment in time.

First, in most school settings, adults do most of the talking about the meaning of education and learning. Yet even the best “adult” description of schooling can fall flat when compared to how kids talk about their experiences, especially Northern Light alumni.
Northern Light alumni talk about their experiences – sometimes decades after the fact – with incredible passion and clarity, as if they were right back in their old hallways and classrooms. They describe a deep sense of connection to community, and gratitude for being empowered and listened to at such a young age, when kids are just finding their way. These memories and experiences continue to sustain them, as they do for us as well. They remind us why the work we do is so essential – especially now.

The philosopher of education, John Dewey, noted that the value of education lies in the freedom children have to shape their own experiences and purposes. The students of Northern Light ­ – past, present, and future – embody this wisdom like no one else.

Here’s to many, many more birthdays!


Dr. Roy
Head of School 
Northern Light School
Founded in 1989, Northern Light School, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is committed to providing a high-quality education for children from all socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds. To make a contribution, click here.
Northern Light School |