by David Bryan
Kaleidoscope, New Roads School’s annual community celebration and fundraiser, is almost upon us. We hope you have made plans to join us. If not, you still have time. Please purchase tickets…invite a friend. I know we all are busy…we all have things to do…we get invited to this and that event all year long… But hold the phone! Kaleidoscope is different; and Kaleidoscope enables New Roads to be different in ways that matter to your children — while they are part of the New Roads community and throughout their lives as they create “community” for themselves.
Why is it called “Kaleidoscope?” That’s easy. Right from the start New Roads has been a community of a different color than most … certainly different from other independent school communities. Although many things differentiate New Roads’ approach to education – a curriculum informed by social justice and ecological sanity, a vigorous effort to make our teaching reflect the most salient and powerful insights about how young people learn most effectively – none is more significant than the rich diversity of our community and the ongoing commitment by all participants in our community to preserving that unique educational resource. Diversity of race, ethnicity, cultural background, socioeconomic status and learning style; a community that accurately reflects and appreciates the kaleidoscope of cultures and communities that is Los Angeles, that is the world…We have believed from the beginning that this matters in fundamental ways; we have chosen it, and continue to choose it over the latest toys, or the greatest gadgets (although we have nothing against those either!)
“How do you do it?” We are asked all the time. “How do you offer financial assistance to more than 55% of your families?” “How do you devote more than 40% of your tuition budget to need-based aid?” “How do you create a coherent community from people whose cultural and
community experiences are so different from one another?” Easy! We work hard at it. We work hard at empathy, inclusion, and understanding. We watch our pennies, and we raise funds. Kaleidoscope is key to this endeavor since it is our only community event dedicated entirely to generating financial aid dollars. I repeat: 100% of the funds raised at Kaleidoscope support our uniquely generous financial aid program; and this has been true every year since 1995 when we first began.
A community becomes and remains a community because it shares its stories, it celebrates its successes and it honors those whose actions represent its aspirations. Kaleidoscope is our annual effort to do all of this. This year, we will have the pleasure of recognizing several people in our community: Rick Rappaport, alumni parent, Trustee, and Chair-elect of the New Roads Board of Trustees will receive our Founders Award; Kathy and George Hicker, current parents and ardent supporters, will receive the Inspired Education Award; and dear friend and faculty member Mario Johonson will receive the Jonny Eliga Spirit of New Roads Award. Join us at Kaleidoscope to hear their stories, to thank them, and to contribute to the constantly evolving story that is New Roads.