Lise's Lens: February 24, 2022

This week Lise touches on exciting work at the Baltimore Museum of Art, the practice of finding "Focus" and "Flow," and the recent passing of physician and activist Paul Farmer.



  • Last week our faculty welcomed Tim Fish, chief innovation officer at NAIS, to lead us through some important professional development related to teaching and learning. We talked a lot about the future and ongoing evolution of education, but one of the concepts we discussed was that of “Flow.” I’ve since added Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s famous book to my to-be-read pile. In the meantime, I checked out his 2004 Ted Talk: Flow, the secret to happiness


  • Paul Farmer’s sudden passing. Paul's arrival to Haiti coincided with college years and my going and coming between D.C. and Port-au-Prince, where my family was living. Actually, I believe his first internship and work in Haiti was at the St. Vincent de Paul school for the disabled run by Sister Joan Margaret, also from Massachusetts, where my parents operated their non profit, Eye Care Haiti. 

    Though Paul Farmer is certainly famous now, I have distinct memories of him from before he was a household name. I remember when he arrived in Haiti in the 80s and volunteered at St. Vincent's. Soon after that he was in med school with one of my best friends (with whom I lived in Newton during my 10th grade year and who had lived in Haiti during our childhood).

    I remember the skinny Paul, studying his flashcards whenever I saw him on a plane, and always trying to get to the Cange/Mirebalais area, where he eventually built the first Partners in Health hospital in Haiti. Already at that time, he was determined to be involved in bettering healthcare for all the forgotten people of Haiti, even if the path wasn't yet clear. 

    I am surprised that in all that is being said about Paul, very few people are referencing his very early work on AIDS.  In 1992, he wrote Aids and Accusation, which to me was a brilliant study and was remarkable because of the intersectionality of his perspective and expertise as both a medical doctor and anthropologist.

    One thing is certain. Paul was a generous person and I will remember him fondly as someone who, like the Quaker tenet dictates, strived to "let your life speak." Indeed, Paul, you let your life speak. Godspeed, mon ami.


Yesterday in assembly, Sherrill Bounnell shared the history behind the much-beloved rubber tree in the Art Building. According to former art teacher Alice McMahon, the tree was planted when the building opened in 1968 to add what she called “a touch of elegance” to the space. The tree is now estimated to be approximately 30-35 feet tall and approximately 20 feet wide. Many thanks to Sherrill for sharing.

The Cambridge School of Weston is a progressive high school for day and boarding students in grades 9–12 and PG. CSW's mission is to provide a progressive education that emphasizes deep learning, meaningful relationships, and a dynamic program that inspires students to discover who they are and what their contribution is to their school, their community and the world.