School’s Out for Summer, School’s Out…Forever? – (Rye, NH)
“We ain’t never goin’ back.”
The statement sent a shockwave through the entire seacoast last Wednesday. Rumors of a massive school boycott surfaced several weeks back when little Timmy Robinson mooned the elementary school principal outside of her Portsmouth residence and yelled, “Kiss it goodbye!”
11 year-old Jake Seale delivered the statement to several hundred reporters at City Hall. “We’re done with it. Teachers, books, shitty lunch food, dioramas... We didn’t sign up for this competition-based garbage of an education. It doesn’t even matter if ya get a question right, ya always gotta get it right first. There’s no room to breathe. We at the alliance have devised a plan to better suit our needs.”
The ‘Alliance of Each Kid Gotst His or Her Own Potential’ or AEKGHHP has gained over 10,000 members in the last week alone. The group serves as a foundation for rebuilding what most agree is a very broken educational system. The Seacoast Truth was invited to the Alliance’s headquarters in Rye for an exclusive interview on the future of ‘Schooling.’
“It’s called Sand-City,” Jake Seale tells me when I arrive, “We don’t like to put labels on things, but it seems to fit.”
I am completely speechless. ‘Sand City’ stretches the entire length of Jeness Beach and consists of 4 dormitories, a hospital, 2 ocean-to-table restaurants, and a non-specific worship temple, all made completely of sand.
The colony of youngsters draws similarities to Geaorge Lucas’ Cloud City in both beauty and inexplicable existence. “Here at Sand City, there are no classrooms,” Jake continues, “Teachers emerge from those of us who want to teach, not who are paid to. There are no grades, no time-outs, only true, unbridled, American learning. Additionally, we prohibit the use of smartphones. If there’s one thing that makes humans universally dummer, it’s smartphones.” Jake pauses at a group of 3 youngsters playing with what looks like a large Erector Set. “Our booming space program,” he explains, “We already have 2 satellites in orbit. We keep communications with China, Russia, North Korea, and Germany open at all times.” Jake smiles at me and winks.
Though the Alliance does not believe in standardized testing, several Sand Citians took the CAT (California Achievement Test) to humor the outside world.
“Not a single wrong answer. Not one,” said NH Commissioner of Education Virginia Berry at press conference at the White House. “These kids are smarter than most other human beings on the planet. We at the NH Department of Education believe they should be now recognized as such. A new species.”
In just over two weeks, the newly dubbed ‘Jedi-children’ have paved the way in innovation, sustainability, sand-based architechture. I admitted to Jake before I left the colony that I was somewhat intimidated by the Jedi-children’s clearly superior intellect. Jake chuckled, waved his hand slowly in front of me and said in a calm voice, “You’re not intimidated by the Jedi.”
And he’s right, I’m not.
Photos are courtesy of Tina Marney. You can view the rest of her work here, www.tinamarney.com
The lineup for the 2013 festival
Brett West (MA)
Jonah Tolchin (NJ)
Dan Blakeslee (MA)
Guy Capecelatro III (NH)
Anthony Caligagan (France)
People Skills (NH)
Rick Rude (NH)
Happy Jawbone Family Band (VT)
Fire Tower (NH)
Moonlight Nightgown Squad (NY and NH)
Art by Sam Paolini, Ryan Harrison, and Joel Kutylowski
– along with other fantastical installations by the Pratt family.