How many people — how many adults — remain best friends with their classmates from elementary school? I’m not terribly far from 30 years old, and my best friends for most of my life have been the people I met as a student at the Aspen Community School.
The things we learned to do there (playing music, acting, making art, reading, writing and raising hell) are the things that have kept my group of friends together through the years, as we follow each other from coast to coast and marvel at the fact that no one — no one —is weirder than we are, or more proud of it.
Today, ACS is trying to raise some cash, and reflecting on the group of friends that I made there makes me want to give it to them.
That school produces individuals, for better or worse. (A good number of my former ACS classmates are now trying to make it as actors in Los Angeles, but the school shouldn’t be held responsible for that.) What’s remarkable is that the artists and musicians that come out of there also score well on math and reading tests. An ACS eighth-grade student is an all around renaissance tween.
I’m not sure what sort of juju Jim Gilchrist and the other teachers were working with when I was there — it was the 1990s, and things were looking up, generally — but it was effective. It’s time we all pitched in and helped ACS build a physical environment to match the intellectual one they’ve created on that mesa in Woody Creek.
The school has until May 1 to raise $4.9 million. If they do it, the state will pitch in a matching $4.2 million to revamp the schools facilities, which are so run down that they would give an OSHA inspector a conniption.
If the school can’t meet their end of the bargain, though, they lose it all. So please, make a pledge today at www.ibelieveacs.org , and help keep this valley’s students smart, healthy and weird.