The green in front of the Campus Center was especially verdant the past few Thursdays—and not just because warm weather has finally returned. The sixth grade has been holding its annual farmers’ market, an opportunity for the community to enjoy the fruits of the students’ labors in the Freight Farm and for the students to learn a little about literally growing a business from seed.
Two recent spring art shows underscored the strength of Rivers’s art program and celebrated students’ creativity and talent. Rivers students were honored with numerous awards at both the Small Independent School Arts League (SISAL) 2019 exhibition and the juried Page Waterman/Next Up! 2019 show.
Fittingly, given the work in question, the Middle School’s recent production of The Tempest was nothing short of magical. With music, song, dance, and poetry, the talented band of performers vividly conjured Shakespeare’s enchanted island within the confines of the Black Box Theater.
Boston’s venerable Jordan Hall, considered one of America’s most acoustically perfect performance spaces, was the site of a special Mother’s Day concert last Sunday, with three seniors from The Rivers School’s Conservatory Program performing as soloists with the Rivers Youth Symphony Orchestra.
Rivers 10th graders tackle the topic each year as they participate in the Sages & Seekers program. The students are paired with older adults from surrounding communities; as “Seekers,” they spend hours interviewing the “Sages,” delving deep into their life journeys to create the program’s culminating project—a tribute essay that students present to their peers and the other sages at the end of the term. The tribute is not a mere retelling of incidents or a timeline, but a fully developed story with themes, lessons learned, and motifs teased out of the ordinary dramas of a lifetime.
Last Saturday’s perfect weather set the tone for a festive Alumni Day and Reunion gathering on campus. From sporting events to musical performances to alumni awards to convivial meals, a full slate of fun kept returning alums busy as they reconnected with one another and celebrated their visit to campus.
What do we talk about when we talk about whiteness? That was the subject put before a group of about 60 parents and teachers who attended a talk and workshop at the Campus Center on Thursday, May 9, led by diversity educator and consultant Jenna Chandler-Ward. The well-attended event was the most recent in Rivers’s parent diversity speaker series, launched this year with the goal of encouraging and supporting conversations around diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Eleventh grader Aleisha Campbell is already active in pursuing social justice and committed to making an impact in her community. Ninth grader Hannah Lapides is just beginning to explore how to address societal ills and engage with issues she feels passionate about. But, as the inaugural recipients of a fellowship from Rivers’s Center for Community and Civic Engagement (CCCE), both are looking to immerse themselves in the subject when they attend an intensive summer program for high school students, called “Leadership for Social Change,” at Tufts University’s Tisch College of Civic Life.
For the first time in several days, the sun came out on Monday, May 6—an auspicious sign for the 19th Annual Rivers School Golf Tournament to Benefit Financial Aid. More than 120 alumni, parents, and friends enjoyed an afternoon of fun and sportsmanship on the Robert Trent Jones–designed course at the Charter Oak Country Club in Hudson. In the process, they raised more than $75,000 to help students attend Rivers.
It was a gala evening of food, fun, festivities, and above all, generous giving when more than 350 members of the Rivers community gathered at MacDowell Arena for the annual Rivers School Parents’ League Auction last Saturday, May 4.
Kids and teens facing a range of challenges. Disabled athletes who want the opportunity to participate in sports such as skiing, snowboarding, and cycling. Immigrant families transitioning to a new life in the U.S.
These are the people who will receive support this year from Rivers Givers, a longtime Rivers initiative in which students study the world of philanthropy and non-profits, research local organizations that address community issues, make site visits, and vote on grants.
It was a heavy medal weekend for Rivers—not to be confused with heavy metal, as the musical genres in question were jazz and classical. The seven students who make up the Rivers Select 1 jazz combo earned gold at the MAJE state competition on Saturday, April 27, with a performance judges deemed “outstanding.”
For anyone who’s ever eaten lunch in Kraft Dining Hall or walked through the Campus Center between academic periods, a day of silence at Rivers seems nearly inconceivable. But the national student-led Day of Silence, observed on a recent Friday, is an annual occurrence with a serious purpose: To draw attention to the silencing—actual and metaphorical—of members of the LGBTQ+ community.
For Apsara Balamurugan ’20, the plight of refugees is no mere abstraction. Her parents came to this country from Sri Lanka, and their experiences were the inspiration for Balamurugan’s moving and ambitious musical composition, Displaced.
Head of School Ned Parsons has announced that Ava Archibald will take on the role of diversity, equity, and inclusion director at Rivers, starting in July. With the new hire, current DEI director John Bower steps away from the position to focus on his work as assistant head of the Middle School and assume the role of Middle School coordinator of DEI programming. Between Archibald, Bower, and Katie Henderson, who serves as Bower’s opposite number in the Upper School, the DEI office is now a three-person team, reflecting Rivers’s commitment to the work.
At an age when many kids are just discovering the sandbox, Katherine Liu ’23 made her public performance debut. The gifted pianist was 4 years old and had been playing for a year. “I don’t think I was nervous,” she says, though she admits she barely remembers the occasion. “I was really just a toddler.”
For the sixth year in a row, all four of The Rivers School’s varsity winter sports teams made it into the NEPSAC playoffs, the only school in the Independent School League (ISL) able to make such a claim.
Over spring break, a group of 15 students traveled to San Francisco for an experience that brought them in contact with Silicon Valley tech entrepreneurship, the city’s struggles with homelessness, and a network of West Coast alumni eager to share and connect with them. This first-ever “alternative spring break” in the Bay Area was a resounding success.
In a windowless room behind the theater at Regis College’s performing arts center, Henry Muller ’19 is attempting to explain the difference between cold and a cold. It’s confusing, he concedes, because, as he tells his listeners, “When I have a cold, I might feel cold.”
What sort of a world will today’s Rivers students inhabit in 10 or 15 years? Apparently, one in which they expect to feel nostalgic for Red Sox and Patriots championships, scrunchies, turf, and fidget spinners.
Difficult conversations are just that: Difficult. Rivers is committed to engaging our community in difficult, courageous conversations about diversity, equity, and inclusion—and to providing tools to facilitate those conversations. Toward that end, last Wednesday, February 20, saw the launch of Rivers’s Parent Diversity Speaker Series, sponsored by the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.
The students of Enrico Fermi High have all the typical teen concerns: classes, after-school activities, who’s dating whom, and, of course, zombies. In the Nonesuch Players’ recent production of Zombie Prom, mounted at Regis College’s performing arts center, those topics were animated (or reanimated) with color, style, energy, razzle-dazzle song and dance, and copious quantities of ghoulish humor.
A group of Upper Schoolers spent a recent lunch hour sorting essays into piles. “This one’s a no,” said one. “I thought this one had potential,” remarked another. “Maybe yes for this,” said yet a third.
The Massachusetts Scholastic Art and Writing Awards were announced recently, and Rivers students once again made a great showing. Overall, the students garnered 33 awards—six Gold Keys, nine Silver Keys, and 18 Honorable Mentions.
If you want to annoy high-school seniors, just ask them what they want to be when they grow up. The 20 alumni who returned to campus this week for “Rivers Connect: Life Beyond Winter Street” seemed to recall the feeling vividly.
On Monday, February 11, during the annual Day of Consideration, the Rivers community grappled with questions surrounding the American Dream and worked toward creating ways to make the dream work for all Americans.
The Rivers School’s inaugural Day of Giving, held on Tuesday, February 12, set an ambitious goal, one that would eclipse any previous such effort at the school: To garner 495 gifts – one for each currently enrolled student – in a 24-hour participation challenge. It would take effort, focus, and teamwork to get there.
Andy Delinsky ’93 recently became the newest member of The Rivers School Board of Trustees. The Delinsky family has deep ties to Rivers: Delinsky’s older brother, Eric, graduated in ’87, and their father, Steve Delinsky, served as board president during Delinsky’s years at the school.
Some days – maybe most days – the hardest question most of us face is choosing an outfit or deciding whether to eat that second cookie. The students in Julian Willard’s Exploring Ethics: Language, Literature, and the Brain, a senior interdisciplinary studies elective, are grappling with bigger issues: Organ transplants. Bias in artificial intelligence. Palliative care. Euthanasia.
Their shirts bore the words “Game Changer,” and that’s what the 10th grade students of Rivers set out to do last Sunday: Change the game for the 20 Massachusetts Special Olympics basketball teams visiting campus to compete in the state qualifying tournament.
For Estelle Luong ’19, the answer mirrors the punchline of the old joke: Practice, practice, practice. The accomplished pianist, a student in the Conservatory Program of The Rivers School, was awarded a first prize in the Crescendo International Youth Competition audition round in November.
That point was made passionately at this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day assembly, held on Monday, January 14. In his introductory remarks, faculty member Bruce Taylor said the gathering was “an opportunity to address the ongoing presence of hateful language.”
To be or not to be a part of the National Shakespeare Competition? That was the question answered in the affirmative by seven Rivers students recently as they each recited a monologue from one of the Bard’s plays, in hopes of capturing the school crown and moving on to the state semifinal round.
It’s been 15 years since David Tierney created a program that fills a special educational niche in the region. His brainchild, the Conservatory Program at The Rivers School, offers a unique blend of academic rigor and intensive music education, and on Saturday, January 5, a group of conservatory program alumni gathered to celebrate the program’s 15th anniversary.
Just prior to the holiday break, students in John Adams’s statistics class had a chance to video conference with a data visualization expert who made contact with the class after becoming a fan of the class’s Twitter feed, @RiversStats.