As the Upper School band gathered together for the first time this school year, Arts Director Adam Bernick began asking them a series of questions, such as, “Stand if: you play a sport…, if you are in a club…, if you belong to a service organization….,if you are a member of an academic honor society. “
With each question, a large percentage of the 80 some odd students stood. It is clear, Randolph band students are active participants in all aspects of student life. They are leaders, not only within the arts community, but in academics and athletics as well.
Our goal for the arts in the 2014-15 school year is to expand the classroom beyond the walls of our school to include engagement in the greater Huntsville community. The first step in this direction was a cookout and social get-together with some children from Big Brothers Big Sisters of North Alabama on July 31, during Band Leadership Day. Our student leaders planned the activities and welcomed our friends from BBBS. The children who joined us were a combination of “littles,” who have already been matched with a big brother or sister, and several who are on the waiting list to be matched.
As Mr. Bernick said, “This event was a first step in engaging and forming relationships with the Huntsville community for many of these band members. Our work in formal leadership development is in its early stages at Randolph. Nevertheless, there is an appetite in our community and a directive in our school’s strategic plan to support student initiative.”
As the kids arrived, they joined groups of Randolph students in building structures using the popular Kapla blocks in the Thurber Arts Center lobby. Competition for the tallest tower soon began!
Later, everyone was directed to the stage to take part in an African drumming circle led by Mr. Bernick. At first the BBBS children were a bit tentative in striking the drums, but with encouragement from Mr. Bernick and the Randolph students, they embraced the activity and had a blast.
The evening ended with a cookout on the Commons lawn. With the common denominator of hamburgers, hotdogs and cake, the groups of students mingled and got to know each other.
We believe there are natural opportunities for our students to reach out into the Huntsville community to form relationships and share experiences. Our students are excited about having those chances and we see this as a valuable way to teach and encourage initiative and leadership skills.