Each week during Community Time (a forty minute block of time after lunch), students and faculty gather to listen to someone speak about an issue, cause, or educational experience or enjoy a performance or Open Mic.
Lorena Tabrane, Community Outreach Co-Chair of Dreamers on Grounds (UVA)was the presenter for the December 6 Speaker Series. She talked about Undocu(Ally) Training, whose mission is to create a more inclusive environement and safe space for undocumeted students through education and advocacy. She discussed the challenges faced by undocumented students brought to the USA as children. Lorena is a 3rd year student at UVA studying Identity Politics & Legal Theory. She was assisted by UVA 4th year student Johanna Moncada-Sosa, a Foreign Affairs and Political & Social Thought major who also serves as Vice President of Dreamers on Grounds. Tandem students were very engaged during their presentation and asked great questions.
The November 15 Speaker Series brought another familiar face to campus - alum Levi Schult (TFS '17) returned to engage the community with tales of his work with pulsar technology in India last summer. Levi, a physics major and junior at UVA, spent the summer working and travelling in India. He talked about the study of pulsars and their gravitational waves. Levi noted that by studying these radio waves that send out regular pulses, scientists can gain a better understanding of gravity and Einstein's theories.
Middle Schoolers spent the September 13 Speaker Series with filmmaker and Tandem Film Club co-facilitator Clarence Green (Lydia Horan is the co-facilitator). He spoke about this year's new iteration of Film Club called "Movies that Matter," for both Upper School and Middle School students who are interested in making films that start conversations and call people to action about ideas and issues that matter. Students can create narrative and documentary films that have a message about social justice issues, stewardship, peace, community, and more. If they have a complaint or gripe about our local or global world and want to make a difference with their voice, they can do so while learning and practicing the art of digital filmmaking.
Clarence has co-facilitated Film Club here for at least four years, and has also taught upper school digital filmmaking at TFS. He runs his own digital film company called Underground Shorts. Additionally, a couple of MS students talked about Tandem Earth Club and Debate Club. All three clubs - Movies the Matter, Tandem Earth and Debate - are about starting conversations around issues that matter to students, and learning how to present your views to further conversations and take action.
Our October 4 Speaker Series brought a visit from ultra-runner Sophie Speidel, who returned to the 100-mile ultra distance at age 56 after not running 100 miles for 12 years. The theme of her talk was facing fears through a focused plan and not giving up - no matter what. Here's a great profile of Sophie, who inspired students with her determination.
Speaker Series presenter Kelly Eplee, of local non-profit organization Habitat for Humanity, gave an informative presentation to the community on September 6. Kelly, who also worked with local Building Goodness Foundation, spoke about affordable housing in Charlottesville and why it is so challenging for reduced-income families to own a home. Students watched two great local Habitat videos, including one about the redevelopment of Southwood Mobile Home Park. Check them out here and here.