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.
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.
Our Speaker Series today brought us a beloved alum speaker. Ti Ames, TFS ‘13, talked about their life’s journey from TFS to Oberlin and into adulthood. Over that journey, Ti said they had begun to truly understand the Quaker values of peace and community and the importance of finding your light. Ti currently directs productions in Charlottesville, most recently Rent at Live Arts and works as an acting consultant and coach with their business Sankofa Consulting.
Ti gave us all some powerful advice, saying: "So I end with this: Tandem taught me to speak up, but life continues to teach me to speak true. I am just as grateful for the light and abundance as I am for the lows and the tears. I truly believe that everything does happen for a reason. I don't regret my journey thus far by any means and will continue to find what makes me happy, what leads me in light. Find your light, I promise it's there. It just takes a little living."
We were also treated to a wonderful song from Ti to close out the event
Our first Speaker Series for 2019-2020 introduced us to our new faculty/staff members, and the community loved hearing from them. Fun facts: Henry has a cat named Fluffy Kitten and is passionate about sunscreen; Nate is a competitive archer; Sonia raises (and names) chickens and pigs; Sarah lived in Argentina; Tim recently presented a paper on translating Ovid to Chinese; Cindy taught in New York City after initially pursuing fashion merchandising. We all really enjoyed their personal and sometimes humorous presentations.
Check out the photo of our talented new faculty/staff - L to R front row: Sarah Gillespie (Spanish), Emmie Wright (5/6 Spanish), Sonia Brandon (French & Spanish); L to R back row: Nate Adkins (Math, Soccer Coach), Henry Clark (7/8 English, Soccer Coach), Cindy Cartwright (5/6 Math/Science, MS Xcountry Coach), Cameron Pampus (5/6 Music), Tim Brannelly (Latin). Not pictured: Chloe Wilson (Counselor).