For those who don’t know, the process of getting your child into kindergarten in New York City is brutal. This highly competitive, year-long ‘sport’ involves tons of formal and informal research, networking, interviews of children and parents, and more psychometric testing than you can shake a stick at. At the end, one emerges bruised and hopefully with a seat at a school you can believe in.
So we were thrilled to start our September as one of the newest families of the Manhattan Country School (MCS) community. Not only is this a place of progressive education that’s a great fit to our little guy, but it’s also a school with a civic rights and environmental justice mission. As a South African, it’s heartening to be a part of a school that envisions its students “as future leaders whose shared experiences in learning and activism inspire them to champion excellence and justice, compassion and peace, and the rights of all people to racial, economic, environmental, and educational equity.”
Among the ways this manifests is in the “country” of “Country School.” MCS is unique among New York Schools as it has a 180-acre working farm integral to the curriculum. Today I got to chaperone a field trip to a different and nearer farm, Stone Barns Farm. Calvin’s class explored food from vegetable cultivation through egg collecting, turkey raising and a giant boar destined to be a future pork sausage.
The other unique aspect is that MCS has a sliding scale for tuition. This enables the school to maintain its commitment to equality and diversity, based on the principle that a family’s financial commitment should be in equitable proportion to its financial resources.
Which brings me to… fund raising. Do you remember school fetes? How about big walks/cycles/swims? Tombolas, white elephant stalls, book fairs and raffles? My parents were extraordinary contributors to the schools my brother and I went to, with a particularly memorable and successful Chinese food stall. To this day my mom remains remarkably effective at persuading people to part with their money in exchange for raffle tickets.
Wish that she were here, because that is precisely what we are charged with doing. Farm Festival is one of the main opportunities MCS has to raise the 30% of the school’s annual operating expenses not covered by tuition. You can help. And here are the options:
1. Buy a raffle ticket: Calvin’s class is trying to sell the most raffle tickets and we’d love your support — at $3 a ticket or $20 for 10. You can purchase batches of 10 online at BiddingForGood (easy registration process), or PayPal me funds to purchase fewer tickets. Important: Please add “Cavin 5s-6s” in the comments box when you buy tickets so his class will get credited for selling the ticket.
2. Donate or bid on an online auction item between 15-28 October 2012
3. Join the party! Farm Festival will take place on Saturday, October 20, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. on 96th Street between Fifth and Madison Avenues. Between the arts and crafts it will be fun for all ages. You can catch Jay manning a grill in the morning.
Our humble and sincere thanks to the family and friends from whom we’ve extorted 164 raffle ticket sales, the friend who donated an *awesome* Master organization auction item, and for any support you can lend if you haven’t already. In the virtuous circle of life, we look forward to returning the favour.