in their own words

woodstock high school

Portfolio, Publishingon October 16th, 2010Comments Off on woodstock high school

I do quite a bit of work in education, partly because I have the opportunity but also because I like the idea that the work contributes to the community good. In a small state like Vermont, schools are struggling to keep funded in a tight economic environment and being able to clearly communicate the benefits the bring to the table helps them make a case for local support. I’ve done quite a few view books and I always enjoy working on them. But, I wasn’t prepared for the unexpected turn the Woodstock High School assignment took.

I almost always start these projects by interviewing as broad a spectrum of faculty, staff, students, and parents as I can manage. It’s a good way to get to the core of what a school is about and to develop a rounded view. And so it was with this book. I spent a few days interviewing, then dumped the interview transcripts into a mash-up from which I typically edit down the final copy. That’s when things took a weird turn. While reading through the interviews I was struck by the absolute authenticity of the voices. Truly, there was no way I was going to be able to improve on the interviews and I approached the school’s principal with an idea—to make the book a series of vignettes featuring the best of the material. I think it takes a lot of courage on the part of client to try something that is clearly out of their comfort zone, but the headmaster agreed.

The result was a uniquely personal and powerful view of the school through the eyes and voices of those to whom it mattered most.

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