“It’s so amazing to see everyone” exclaimed Melissa Niles, one of many Arcadia (formerly ARTech) alumni to attend the school’s 15-year anniversary celebration June 8.
Her words were echoed by dozens of former and current students and teachers, along with friends and families who had gathered for a reunion at this small charter school in Northfield. The afternoon and evening full of activities, food, and entertainment were organized by Scott Grave, a teacher at Arcadia, and a dedicated group of alumni, parents and staff members.
In addition to touring the school and reconnecting with one another, those who attended could participate in the many carnival games or purchase food from the food trucks or view and buy artwork (e.g. photographic prints, pottery, jewelry, woodwork and yarns) from alumni. In the early evening, everyone was gathered into the Great Room of the school. Following a skit involving past and present school directors, including the newly hired executive director, Laura Stelter and Todd Thompson, a former science and music teacher at Arcadia, led those gathered in singing some of the students’ old favorites.
Joey Schad, an alum who is now a professional musician, played the school’s old grand piano while students, teachers, families and community friends ate birthday cake and continued to reminisce.
Schad wasn’t the only talented artist to perform at the anniversary celebration. During the afternoon, people enjoyed an eclectic set of performances by Arlo Cristofaro-Hark, Tim and Linnea Goodwin, Helen Forsythe, Cliff Martin and Chase Ingraham. The new outdoor picnic structure built by Logan Wells as an Eagle Scout project served as the stage for these musicians. In the evening, Vonnie Kyle from Santa Fe, New Mexico, another alum and professional musician, gave a free concert.
As a small charter school, Arcadia has always been intentional about building a strong community among students, families and staff, while at the same time offering an educational program that is individual and purposeful. The warmth and enthusiasm of the conversations about memories, current endeavors and future plans attest to the lasting value of the Arcadia Charter School experience.