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Education’s Influence on Life’s Tapestry

The art studio has always been a major part of our school culture because of the creativity and expression students enjoy while learning technique and history of various artists and styles of art. There are also several looms that remain set up during the year for students to work on during class as they complete assignments. One of these pieces was a beige cross made from a thicker fiber yarn with a background of smooth blue yarn. Work on this project began last year prior to campus closing due to COVID.. Students continued working on it this year with proper hygiene requirements in place for tools and materials. It was almost as if this weaving was destined to become something significant to our school with so many individuals contributing to it and the significant design.

Our school chaplain and Rector of St. Cyprian’s Episcopal Church is moving to Richmond, Texas where he will lead Calvary Episcopal Church and school. Fr. Ralph has become a trusted figure here at the school for students and staff who have enjoyed his chapel services and support for the past 5 years. When we were searching for an idea of something from our students that could be presented to him as a reminder of his time on our campus,the cross weaving was the perfect gift.

Watching our students complete this project, I learned more about the process of weaving. I came to understand that our lives are very much a creation of woven strands of the vertical warp and horizontal weft of our influences and experiences much like the art being created in the classroom. The constant unmoving principles we follow and the interwoven moving parts of each day makes up the warp and weft of our existence.

The warp is the first yarn stretched onto the loom and must be tightly anchored to allow for the constant introduction of the looser weft threads moving across, up and down, around and through them to create something beautiful and valuable when completed. In reality this truly does describe the creation of the fabric of our lives.

Daily experiences in an Episcopal school also fit into the warp and weft of providing an educational community and culture that will impact the development of the whole child for successful adulthood.

Episcopal schools have several specific cultural markers as shared by Ann Mellow, Associate Director of the National Association of Episcopal Schools, in her article for the Episcopal New Yorker, What Makes an Episcopal School. Here are a few of her thoughts on what you will find as standards in an Episcopal education.

Episcopal schools focus on forming a life, not building a resume. There is a culture of active welcome, hospitality, and genuine inclusion in Epsicopal schools. Free, open and rigorous intellectual inquiry takes place in a vibrant and connected community where there are intentional relationships at all levels.

Rev. P. Roger Bowen, liaison in the United State to the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti Partnership, reminds us that Episcopal schools believe in “the fundamental unity of all human beings….in the sacredness of every individual and his or her conscience… and that love, compassion, unselfishness and the force of inner truth, ultimately have greater power than hate to build lives of genuine meaning, purpose, and service in the world they [students] will inherit.The warp threads put into place in this education setting are intended to remain secure and strong in the lives of our students.

The children in our classrooms learn and thrive with these tenets firmly in place each day in our school. Integration of these practices and beliefs into their work and expectation allows for a standard of care and personal experience that grows stronger each day.

As students grow and mature, there will be many experiences that will add to their development and understanding of the world around them. Meaningful opportunities throughout their life to make discoveries and foster understanding of their role as empowered individuals. Life itself adds the influencing weft threads into the warp that will bring out the design and purpose of their existence in the world. The result will be a confident and well rounded individual.

Godspeed Fr. Ralph. We wish you well in the years ahead. Our students will continue working on their life’s tapestry and your influence will definitely be recognized within that design.

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