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Lise's Lens: May 11, 2023

Lise reads about Boston’s “Little Syria” neighborhood, considers the paradox of springtime in schools, and enjoys a student jazz performance at the Weston Council on Aging.  

  • This fascinating Globe article on the story of Boston’s Little Syria, which was home to a thriving Arab American community, was fascinating to me, as I was unaware of this part of Boston’s history. Growing up in Haiti, I went to school with many classmates of Middle Eastern descent. In that group were certainly Syrians. Their presence, mostly in the commercial sectors, both in small and large businesses, continues to be notable. And in Haiti it wasn’t only Syrians. I grew up with families hailing from Palestine, Lebanon and even Jordan. They were always generous in sharing their families’ migration stories, their traditions, their food — and their grandparents spoke mostly Arabic and creole. 

  • I’m thinking about Springtime in schools. On the one hand, it’s such a marvelous time. We come out of winter, there are flowers everywhere and all the tender green leaves paint a tableau of nature at its best. Paradoxically, as nature is born anew, we in schools are reaching the end of the school year with many accomplishments and milestones to celebrate. At the same time, many folks, both students and adults, are arriving at the very end of their wells of energy and stamina. Helping our students navigate this moment is important and sometimes requires us jumping on the roller coaster with them — not necessarily for the ride, but more as guardrails! 


  • Yesterday I had the good fortune of going to the Weston Council on Aging with a group of students who were scheduled to perform there. They organized their own transportation (have you ever tried to pack a drum set, key board, music stands, amps, guitars, mic stands, and a saxophone along with five musicians in a minivan?) and set up in a lovely room on the ground floor for their performance. It was also a perfect spring day, so the windows and doors were open and when I arrived, the audience seemed ready to listen. I not only thoroughly enjoyed myself listening to some cool jazz AND original song compositions by one of the seniors, but I was also bursting with pride at the senior who organized the visit and the talent that each one of them has. Graduation will be an emotional one for me as this group of seniors were, like me, new to CSW in the Fall of 2019, and together we have experienced the entire cycle of being a student here.

I love this photo of Gabe '23 interacting with audience members at the Weston Council on Aging this week. 


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.