What is it that makes Cherry Lawn so important in our memories? It may be that it is not so much a memory as it is a recognition of a dynamic developmental event which is still operative in our own growth today.
Cherry Lawn certainly is that for me. When I consider the bead chain of developmental events in my life none flashes with more vitality than does my Cherry Lawn experience.
What characteristics of that experience make those flashes so vital? I think they are passion, a belief in the fulfillment of the individual, and hard work.
Well, everyone certainly worked hard. It is hard to grow, overcome conditioning, glean for values, risk failure, take responsibility, and find authenticity. At Cherry Lawn that quest was equally hard for students, teachers, and administrators.
That quest was made successful because of a belief in the fulfillment of the individual. For me that quest was set in motion by my fellow administrators, my fellow teachers, and my students. My fellow administrators believed that I could learn to teach Biology with insight, chair the Science Department with invention, and be Dean of Students with understanding. My fellow teachers believed that, if we listened well enough, we could be there at the right moment to spark a revelation in a student's mind. My students believed that I would participate in their search for self-validation and authentic questions in a world rife with psychological and sociological dragons and false-prophets. Because of this belief, we all -- students, teachers, and administrators -- grew.
None of this work, none of this belief, none of this growth, was a product of rote or routine. All were products of passion. A case in point is the production of The Boy Friend that I directed at the school. The passion with which the stage crew invented and worked the sets, and the passion with which the cast delved for spontaneous emotions and re-ignited them performance after performance, were life itself being celebrated. The same passion occurred in my labs while Biology students saw Paramecia dart to the music of Bach and heard storms crash to the music of Beethoven. The same passion occurred at morning meetings when a student launched a thought into the gathering of minds.
The school has not gone at all: it is right there in the ever-forming parts of our psyches.