We asked members of the class of 2007 to recall some of their favorite memories of their years at The New School. Here is what they said:
“The Canada Trip! It was full of memories.” – E.W.
“My first day – I’ll just never forget it!” – S.B.
“A certain person flushing plastic bears down the toilet! . . . OK, it was kindergarten!” – K.Z.
“Phys. Ed. was always great.” – W.M.
“The Bass River trips, definitely. Oh, and Boat Days!” – A.B.
“Going on the train to Canada. Well, going on trains!” – D.W.
“My fondest memory is the Lincoln Log wars we had in the Younger Class.” – K.A.
“One is playing football in Canada!” – Z.M.
“What comes to mind right away is the many hours working on the newspaper staff.” – A.W.
Graduation Speech by Madelyn S., 2011 Graduate
It’s been 9 long and wonderful years since I first walked through the doors of this amazing school and I can’t say I haven’t loved every second of it. From building marble-runs in the Little Class, to micro society in the Middle Class, to sitting in the forbidden areas during bookcorner in the Older Class, my days here have been filled with fun and happy experiences that happen just about every day. As much as I am looking forward to going to MAST next fall, part of me can’t believe that my New School adventure is really ending. The kids and staff at The New School have become my friends, my confidants, my family. They are all truly amazing, and I will miss them so much. To my friends- you are the best. We have shared so many funny and ridiculous experiences, it’s hard to remember them all. Some of the best days of my life have been spent hanging out with you. To the teachers- I will never be able to thank you enough for all that you have taught and shared with me. The projects I have done with you have been so informative and at the same time so much fun! I think that all of the things I have learned at The New School have truly been the best preparation I could get for high school and life in general. Hopefully though, I won’t be a total failure with computers, because I know for a fact that I never, ever used PowerPoint in the Middle Class for my projects. Everyone else would be fighting over the computers and I would be happily working away on my poster, cutting and pasting. Thanks especially to Jay for your amazing New York Trips. They are so unique and I have looked forward to every single one. You just can’t get experiences like that anywhere else. Susan, you know I really don’t like working on the newspaper, but somehow you persuade me to give it a try at least once a year anyway. Chris, you are the best phys. ed. Teacher ever, and I will miss fooling around and laughing with you. Kathey, thanks for being there to talk to whenever I’ve been annoyed with everybody, or needed advice, and for never making me use PowerPoint. Rebekah, I never had you as a teacher in the classroom, but you sure taught me a lot about my hair! Jay, make sure you do country projects next year with the Older Class, and keep giving out the food! Thank you for making the Older Class so special. To my Little Classer buddies- you guys are so much fun and I’ll miss seeing you every day! To everyone else who shares my day at The New School, you’re awesome. Jake, even though I get annoyed when you and your pack of friends attack, it is pretty fun, and you are the best little brother ever. Lastly to my family, especially my parents, I love you, and thank you for sending me to The New School. I couldn’t have asked for a better school experience. So to wrap this up, a big goodbye and a hug to everyone, and I look forward to visiting next year.
Graduation Speech by Matt N., 2011 Graduate
I didn’t really know what I wanted to include in this speech except that I will remember The New School as a place where I was really happy and couldn’t wait to go to each day.
I’ve spent 4 years at The New School–one year in Kathey’s class and three years in Jay’s. Kathey and Jay were nothing like any teacher I had before. They helped me when I needed help and let me be creative when I needed to be creative. They always found time for us when we needed help with something.
Things I love about The New School are:
- I could spend time talking and hanging out with my friends.
- It felt like a home not a school
- I wasn’t trapped at a desk and I could roam around
- The New York trips, especially riding on the train, meeting interesting people along the way, and having Krispy Kremes at the end of each trip.
- Bass River trips, my favorite part was playing manhunt at night
- I even liked this year’s school slumber party caused as a result of the Southern Pine Beetle damage at Bass River.
- The things we looked forward to every year like the haunted house, gingerbread night and boat day. In high school I hope to be able to find a use for my knowledge of building cardboard and duct tape junk models.
I love to draw and write and those were two things I was always allowed to do as part of my work in The New School.
In my years at The New School, I was able to write a short play, an action novella, and a comic book. I always wished that my work would come to life, and it did twice at The New School. Once as part of the Green Gorgeous and Ghastly play and once in the form of a super villain who was obsessed with plays. This villain also serves as the educational director and founder of The New School. Susan brought the Script Queen to life better than I could have imagined.
I could say a lot more about the things I like about The New School, but we would be here for a week.
I’m sure I will return many times to visit The New School, but I can guarantee that it will never be on the day of the 8-mile walk. That is the one thing I will not miss.
Graduation Speech by Varun K., 2010 Graduate
So here I am. After 3 years in the older class at the New School, I feel that you stand before me as if it were only yesterday that I was, among this crowd under this canopy, a public school student watching the 11 2007 graduates give their speeches.
I have no doubt in my mind that the New School is the greatest school on the face of the Earth. I am so happy to have found it and could ask for nothing more from my life.
My parents discovered the New School in 2007. In 2006, we decided that the 2006-2007 school year would be my last year in Holmdel public school, and in 2007, our search for a private school, that we could afford, took us from Hoboken to Howell. But then, right here in our home town, we discovered the New School, not only far cheaper and closer than any other private school , but with a far superior academic and child development philosophy that I would eventually deem the greatest possible.
I would like to thank the staff of the New School for all that they have done for me over the past 3 years. They are all very hard-working. Phyllis and Sara have been wonderful assistant teachers and Ginny the most hard-working and diligent secretary, bookkeeper, school nurse, grandmother and Wegman’s employee imaginable. Chris, Ani and Marty have been most friendly and tolerant of my complete lack of athletic ability as the best phys. ed. teachers I could ask for. Helen, and I’m sure Igor (aka Will) would agree, has been an extremely wonderful music teacher. Kathey and Rebekah have been wonderful other adults to have in the building and I have greatly enjoyed working with them in their classes.
And saving those whom I have the most to thank for until last, Jay and Susan have been so extraordinary friendly, kind and understanding towards me that at times they feel more like a second pair of parents than like a teacher and a principal. Not to mention that Susan’s British accent has given me an unimaginable stock of comedic material.
Jay and Susan put in immense work to protect and preserve the New School philosophy in its most literal sense for our collective student body and directly defend our harmony from the occasional squabble (bittersweet taunts and tantrums without black eyes or broken noses). And even where an example of their power is absent, the power of their example never fails to encourage every New School student to care for their New School sisters and brothers and to make life fair, making the New School a collective, harmonious society and leaving in each individual New School student a desire to bring peace to the world and to make life fair on an international scale.
As said by a New School parent, “ask not if they are ready for the world, ask if the world is ready for them.” I respect Jay and Susan very, very much for this role they have in our lives.
A letter from a 2008 TNS Graduate
A couple of days ago I was walking down the black and yellow hallways of my high school on my way to a guidance appointment. The appointment had something to do with planning my summer and a lot to do with getting out of class. At some point during the meeting, the topic we were discussing required some of the contents of a dusty blue folder, back from my initial transition to high school from The New School.
My guidance counselor thumbed through the pages of the folder in search of the document that was needed but when she flipped past a certain packet that was very familiar to me, I stopped her and asked to read it. There, in my lap, now sat a lengthy selection of pages. Shortly thereafter, my guidance counselor left the office in a hurry on call from another guidance counselor on some important guidance counselor duties, leaving me alone in the office with nothing to do. Hoping to drudge up some warm memories from my pre-high school days, I began to read my New School recommendation.
I got less, and more, than what I had bargained. It was less in the sense that there was not as much pleasurable reminiscing as I had anticipated, and more in the sense that I began to have a bit of severe cognitive dissonance; there as an awareness of a disparity I had been quietly aware of for some time but had never before risen to my consciousness.
I had noticed something, that inside of my New School recommendation there were only three numbers; those were the test scores I had received in each of the tree sections of the standardized test I had taken in my final year at The New School. These scores were attached quietly to the back, a testament to the insignificance of them to the greater message of the document. This lack of quantities was surprising to me at first.
Inside of the public school system there seems to be a mindset among the students. That mindset is based on superficial goals. The mindset of striving to get a number higher than (in the case of my school) an 85 in order to make honor roll standard is the common mindset among the better half of the students. The mindset for the lower-level students is very different, albeit only in the sense that their goal number is a few points lower.
My point is that these goals do not matter. Why do we, as a society, have a school system? So we can get good grades? No, we have an education system so that people are able to learn something, and ultimately become better human beings. I do not fear being rejected by colleges, based on a number, but what I do fear is looking back on these years and wondering why I did not bother to get an education instead of just get through my education. That just about sums up the problem with high school, and ultimately the problems of generalization and standardization. They attempt to make something work for everybody, and in doing so, the system has to be made to work very little for each person.
I mentioned before that the inclusion of my standardized test scores was a small portion of the “greater message” of the recommendation. The greater message of this recommendation was something truly beautiful, in every way shape and form. It was a completely accurate description of who I was as a human being, and it suffered no numbers. It was both far too flattering to be true, and completely true in everything it said.
It was filled with details about every aspect of me, not just as a student, but also as a person. It was filled with insight, which could come only from a great deal of observation, thought, and perspiration. I almost began to cry at times because of the stark contrast. On one hand sat my entire high school collection of rants, raves, reports, reviews, and ramblings, which could not have consisted of more than just a handful of statistics and a paragraph of cluttered, bland statements. On the other hand sat a thoughtful, loving, accurate, page-by-page analysis of a person.
Although I felt happy and rejuvenated in my knowledge of myself, I was more and more disillusioned with the people around me. Furthermore, I realized that despite a few differences, I was one of those people myself. I too had become used to and determined to see a certain number on my assignments. I vowed not to let my own achievements become a math problem. For the first time in a long time, I missed the New School.
I was reading my recommendation and the words of this letter, or whatever you wish to call it, were going through my brain. I knew that I was going to write what I felt about this whole scenario because I felt so strongly inspired, but I was having trouble titling it so I decided not to title it at all. I was having trouble structuring it so I decided not to structure it at all. I was even having trouble finding the patience to wait until the time when I knew I would have an hour to expend on it.
Ultimately, my realization was that the New School was a beautiful time in my life, a school, a home, and a sanctuary. At the New School, people are not a gear in a machine, they are a person loved the way you might think only that person’s immediate family could love them. They are treated individually and fairly, not based on anybody else but based only on themselves. In my lap, now finished and covered with my emotional exhaustion, sat a massive composition of such unparalleled love and glory, it was only more wondrous that it is only a small bit of my experience at the New School.
I could not decide how to end this letter, so I just decided to tell an old story that I hope I will never forget. It is a story I have told many times before, and it gets better every time. It is the story of my first day at the New School. I, a little fourth grader, was tentatively stepping through the white gate on a Thursday morning preparing for my two trial days of this “new school” my mom had found for me. Before a few minutes had gone by, I was a participant in a game of catch with a foam football. After the bell rang, everybody rushed to Book Corner, which was remarkable for me, something I had never experienced. Book Corner ended, and the rapid dispersal of students began. One student stuck around though. I will not say who it was, but anyone who knows and remembers him will probably know. He smiled ear to ear, in an unbelievably expressive grin, confidently outstretching his hand and asked me without blinking an eye if I wanted to be friends. By the time I had been able to process just how beautiful that gesture was, I had accepted his proposal, worked on a project all morning and begun to play foam football again at snack time, this time with a new group of friends, a new school, a new self-confidence, but regrettably, the same poor football skills.
I love the New School and always will.
Graduation Speech by Aaron T., 2006 Graduate
At their graduation, New School graduates each have an opportunity to speak to the school community. Here’s an example of a speech from June 2006:
What can I say?
Well, I can start by saying that this school means so much to me. For nine of the four and ten years that I have existed on the planet, The New School has been my second home, my sanctuary in which I feel I can truly . . . exist as I am.
Some schools set out with the prospect of “changing a man,” but here, the term is not so much “changing,” but more “developing” natural skills, talents and interests – nourishing them so that they can fully blossom. I have never once attended a public school, and this fact is slightly intimidating, as I shall be attending one next semester, however, with the skills I have learned from The New School, I will not fear this new environment, but embrace it as a challenging and exciting new learning experience.
To keep things short, I am enormously grateful to all of the teachers and faculty for their tremendous support in my time here. I have come to know all of them very well and they have become what I think of as my extended family. I want to thank all of my friends here who have helped me through the hard times and been there when most needed. I would also like to thank my family, especially my grandfather, for their love and kindness which has helped me to reach this day.
I have a brief word of advice to the parents of newer children in the school, and that is: Stick with it. I say to all of you now: Do not abandon this rare opportunity. Life is far too short to idle away such a precious time as childhood. Perhaps in a few more years you will understand what I mean, for certainly anyone who has graduated in previous years can do so.
I will finish by saying that I am thrilled to be progressing towards a new stage of my life and saddened to be leaving the one that I cherish and love. So, thank you, everyone.