About 200 current and past Blue Mountain School (BMS) parents, teachers and students celebrated the school’s 30 year anniversary on Saturday.
The event, held on the BMS school grounds, included a pig roast of whey-fed pastured pig from Well Fed Farm, homemade ice cream from the Floyd Country Creamery, ale from Big Daddy’s Brewing Company in Roanoke and musical entertainment by Floyd’s own Spoonfight and Just Jake. There were open-house tours of the school’s three buildings in the afternoon and a bonfire at night.
Guests of honor included Alwyn Moss, a trained Waldorf kindergarten teacher and environmentalist, who was living in North Carolina 30 years ago when she was enlisted by parents to be the school’s first teacher. “I fell in love with this beautiful county, the people and especially the children,” said Moss during an open mic sharing of BMS memories. She spoke of the importance of educating children in ways that encourage a “deep, abiding love for our earth, its creatures and its people.”
BMS founding parent Jayn Avery, who introduced Moss, shared her BMS story, saying “It’s a story about people getting together to create a dream and follow it through. The fact that it’s still here and we’re still here is heart filling.”
Past student Aaron Staengl began attending BMS at its inception. Staengl, an artist, remembered creative writing to music, drawing with large block crayons, painting on wet paper and mixing colors. By the time he studied art in college he was ahead of the curve, he said.
BMS parent and founder, Katherine Chantal spoke of the dedication and devotion it takes to run a school. She thanked the current BMS teachers for
their volunteer hours and hard work. “You have a lot of angels in heaven,” she said.
Ruth Bason, another early BMS teacher was also in attendance. BMS community members and students of all ages lined up to exchange hugs and memories with Bason.
Attendees browsed through a collection of school yearbooks and photo albums. They were invited to write memories on a timeline of the school’s history that was spread out on a table. Children played tag and BMS students sold homemade soda and lemonade to raise money for an upcoming trip to Washington D.C.
On the Sunday the BMS Facebook page began to fill with reunion feedback. “It was wonderful! Thanks to everyone who put it on. I’m so glad we could reunite,” said BMS alumni Summer Rain Ursomarso. “Good food, good people, memories shared and memories made,” added BMS pre-school teacher Stefanie Schafer. – Colleen Redman
Photos: 1. Reunion circle for a song and a blessing before a potluck dinner feast. 2. Former BMS teacher Susanna Smith poses with her sons in one of her old classrooms. 3. BMS alumnus Amy Avery-Grubel greets Alwyn Moss who taught Avery-Grubel in the early years of school when it was located in a rented house in town. 4. Spoonfight, one of the bands that performed on the back porch of the pre-school building. The band is made up of recent BMS alumni. 5. Attendees enjoying good food, fellowship and entertainment. Pictured in the foreground are Alan Kaplan, BMS literacy teacher and parent of BMS alumni Virginia Klara Nathan, music teacher Kari Kovick, long-time BMS teacher and parent Corey Avellar and (standing) BMS alumnus Aaron Staengl. 6. Jayn Avery, a BMS founder, talked at an open mic about the school’s beginnings and introduced the school’s earliest teacher, Alwyn Moss, who traveled from Blacksburg for the event. 7. Ruth Bason, a BMS school teacher during the school’s formative years, listened to the open mic sharing with alumnus Melody Cochran, as a nearby child amused himself with a toy