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Clayton's Corner

Louise's Birthday

Our school may be young, but it is rooted in history, beginning with the birth of Iris Louise McPhetridge Thaden on November 12 in 1905.


In 2016, shortly after we decided to name our school in her honor, Louise’s only surviving child, Pat Thaden Webb, sent me a recording of her mother’s broadcast remarks upon receiving the Harmon Trophy, aviation’s highest honor, in 1937. 

 

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Samaras

Last week, while walking the grounds of Crystal Bridges at dusk, I came upon the Bachman- Wilson house. As I contemplated its history and beauty, it reminded me of our journey as a school community.

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Reflections on War Eagle Mill

This fall marks the eighth anniversary of a defining moment in the founding of Thaden School.

During my first explorations of Northwest Arkansas in 2015, I acquired a taste for grits from War Eagle Mill, one of the oldest gristmills still in operation west of the Mississippi.

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Honeybees

Around this time of year, my children (now in their 20s) would grow drowsy over my seemingly endless incantations of Keats’ To Autumn, one of the most mellifluous poems in the English language.

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Digging

This week our students in Angela Linn’s Preserving the Harvest elective could be found gathering sweet potatoes in the Thaden garden.

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Community of Letters

We are building many types of communities at Thaden – artistic, athletic, culinary, philanthropic, and much more. We are also building a community of letters – readers and writers who commune through literature and language.

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The Future of College Admissions

With the arrival of September, our seniors in the Class of 2024 have an eye on their future as they prepare applications to a broad range of colleges and universities. We applaud the pioneering spirit that has now carried our first 72 graduates to 46 different institutions in 24 states and one foreign country (having gained admission to 160 different institutions in 40 states and three foreign countries).

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Balance

As we set the new academic year into motion, I am reminded of Einstein’s observation that “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you need to keep moving.”

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Hearing

Greetings at the end of an inspiring week!

As I shared with you in my letter last week, and as we discussed at our all-school assembly on Monday morning, this year we will focus on the importance of building and sustaining a strong sense of community – “a sense of belonging that makes each and all of us feel known, seen, heard, and celebrated.”

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Institutional Priorities

Greetings from Coleman in North Hall!

We are excited to welcome more than 320 students to campus for their first day of classes on Tuesday, following our orientation for new students on Monday.

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Arkansas Traveler

Congratulations! Today we finished the academic year with flying colors and, just as we started it, a rousing barn owl screech. As we pack up and head into summer, I leave you with some reflections on the tale of the Arkansas Traveler, a piece of folklore that holds special meaning for our school.

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A Sense of Belonging

In the words of Arkansas poet and novelist, Maya Angelou, “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Thaden aspires to be a school where a diverse community can feel a shared sense of belonging, but what are the conditions necessary to create this feeling?

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International Impacts

In the summer of 2018, just after closing the books on our first academic year, I traveled to Turkey and Greece with our Latin and Classics teacher, Dr. Robert Conn, to explore new ground and build relationships for potential international programs.

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Critical Race Theory

This morning I read another article on recent efforts to prohibit the teaching of “Critical Race Theory” in our schools. It’s a term that I first encountered as a law student in 1995.

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Bessie Coleman's Legacy

As many of you know, we incubated our school for two years in portable trailers on the West Campus where The Barn now stands. Each trailer had its own name inspired by the history or mythology of flight.

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MLK Day of Service

In 1944, Martin Luther King Jr. enrolled at Morehouse College, the historically black men’s college in Atlanta. He was just 15 years old. In his senior year, he wrote an essay on The Purpose of Education for the Morehouse newspaper.

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Coins of the Heartland

For more than 50 years, my mother’s youngest brother, James Knight, has been breeding and training horses on a farm about 175 miles north of here in Garden City, Missouri. In his early years, he often showed his magic on the old Benton County fairgrounds where our school now stands.

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History of the Barnstormer

Today, as our school community prepares to celebrate Homecoming weekend, it seems fitting to reflect on the history of our mascot.

Legend has it that Louise Thaden discovered her passion for flight in 1919 (at age 14) when she took a ride in a biplane with a traveling stunt pilot known in those days as a barnstormer.

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National Native American Heritage Month

Last month, we celebrated Indigenous Peoples Day over Three Sisters Soup in the Great Hall. The dish is made from three staples of the Native American diet: maize (corn), beans, and squash. When planted together, they have a symbiotic relationship.

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National Hispanic Heritage Month

Last week, while we were honoring the 235th anniversary of our finely tempered charter of liberty, the United States Constitution, many members of our community were also celebrating the 212th anniversary of El Grito de Independencia (also known as The Cry of Dolores), when Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla rang his church bell and gave the call to arms that started the Mexican War of Independence on September 16, 1810.

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