Last night, the staff of Harriet Gibbons High School held a farewell party for the 40-year-old alternative high school. It was a chance to celebrate the school’s many successes, and to bring a small amount of closure to a school’s traumatic culling by the Albany City School District.
The school’s closing still affects me. It hurts. I think of the students coming up who could use the extra attention and care that an alternative school can provide. Where are those students going to end up? I shudder at the thought.
But for three hours last night, we were all able to celebrate what the school had accomplished in those four decades. Teachers talked about those students who went from a situation of “no hope” to “no fear.” We celebrated students who applied themselves under the careful guidance of the most dedicated teachers a school could ever hire. And we celebrated those who came before us, who helped pave the way for a school to exist for the past 40 years.
There was food, there was dancing – and then, as the boat returned to port, there were memories and toasts and kind words for those in attendance – and glasses raised for those who could not be there. As far as I was concerned, it wasn’t a goodbye. It was a “see you soon.”
Anyways, here’s a photo gallery of the school’s goodbye party, as we sailed along the Dutch Apple cruise line for one final school get together – at least until someone decides it’s time for another school reunion. Which I hope will be soon.