Written in 1973
In an attempt to surpass the quality of the 1972 Madeira exchange, the graduating class of 1973 organized a 2 1/2 week project period. Despondent with the failure of the exchange committee, the seniors rallied under Mr. McCleary, who, with the help of Buddhist logic, was able to design a very exciting program.
The activities during the first week consisted of the Day Care Center, One Square Mile, W.F.S pollution, Restoration and erection of the senior program were hindered by prerequisites (blood test and smallpox scratch), so the students mowed the lawn at the center and built a treehouse for the children. The second week the children were brought out to Woodberry to take advantage of the facilities and empty athletic fields.
The one square milers were concerned with problems in the immediate vicinity of Woodberry. Brush was cleared and trash collected in an effort to handle jobs that are normally no one’s responsibility. Along these same lines, a group of pollution minded students took water samples and checked surrounding areas for signs of pollution in an effort to make the community more aware of the urgency of the situation.
A Woodberry employee’s house, in serious need of repair, was painted by the students in the restoration project. The employee has worked for the school for 17 years without missing a day of work; a very fine record which definitely deserves commendation.
This year the senior class decided to build an outdoor recreational structure. Basically it is a raised platform with a single peak roof and removable walls. Mr. Caughron plans to use it extensively during Sports Camp. The structure will overlook the Rapidan River from a high bank. Henry Barrow, a reputable carpenter from Durham, N.C, is supervising the construction. Since Henry is familiar with oriental architecture, the structure has a Japanese flavor.
During the second week of activities two additional programs were added along with an afternoon program. One group went backpacking for a week near the eastern shore of Virginia while another group lived and worked on an organic farm for a week. This gave the students a chance to test the ideas of Thoreau and B.F. Skinner outside the classroom. Afternoon activities included photography, shop (automotive, electricity and plumbing) and game theory. Throughout the week special interest groups went to Washington either to see plays or attend the greatest show on earth (Watergate hearings.)
Overwhelmed at first with no classes, selfish seniors tended to sleep late and the program was headed downhill, but the week picked up as projects got fully underway. A.P. exams and term papers hindered attendance at nightly movies, but in general the program was very successful. Planning ahead will insure that females will be part of the program next year.
S. Bobo Tanner IV
Not only has the senior project brought Woodberry the dome, but it now has also brought us several new faces (although not on as permanent a basis.) Foremost among these faces is that of Henry Barrow, architect for the dome.
His excitement for the project is twofold, stemming from the physical and ideological aspects of it. As for the building, it offers an architectural challenge through its unprecedented concepts of construction: an oriental teahouse with no definite plan built with new types of materials and professional techniques by unskilled labor.
However, Henry feels that it is not the building which is important, but the project itself, hoping that through it the theory of the personalized approach can be illustrated to the students involved. The basis of this theory, he says, is that anyone can do anything as long as they put their minds to it. He also hopes that because of the project, the students will be able to see the various possibilities other than specialized white collar jobs which are becoming “less and less functional.”
As for the school Henry feels there exists a great potential for creativity. However, as the educational structure is presently set up, he believes it forces the students into traditional academic courses, thus negating all job possibilities other than the white collar positions. With the addition of more nonacademic courses the students would have a greater freedom to choose a vocation because of a more diverse background.
If the atmosphere of unity and relaxation caused by the construction of the dome is a reflection of Henry’s educational philosophy, these ideas should be implemented at Woodberry. Such additions to our program would lessen the narrowness which Harry Barrow has observed.