Once Upon a Staircase
Once upon a time, at this special school called SAR, in order for the students to get from one place to the next they had to climb a bunch of steps (lots of them, in fact!) from the bottom of a hill to the top of it, and back down again - all day, every day! The stairs at SAR are as iconic as our open building and the memories and tales shared with us by our community are heartfelt and touching moments in time.
Over the years, our faculty and staff have heard various tales from current students and fond memories from SAR alumni about the stairs of our famed school building. Whether it’s one’s memory walking up-and-down the stairs by foot or sliding down on one’s tush, or having images of the principal making a school-wide announcement from the balcony, “the steps” at SAR represent the heartbeat of the school where the rhythm and buzz of learning are best heard.
As alumna Debby (Spier) Prince AC ‘78 recalled, “Among many very wonderful moments at SAR, this childhood memory is one that always sticks out in my mind the most: while in Sixth Grade, I had injured my knee and needed to be on crutches for a month. All I could think about were those steps--all of those steps! Every day maneuvering up-and-down those stairs with my backpack and crutches! My teachers and friends could not have been kinder and more helpful getting me through that time and now, when I visit the school, I always picture my smaller self and envision those STEPS!”
The stairs were also a place for communal gatherings. Just last year, Naftali Bennett, Education Minister of Israel, on his trip to the States came to SAR and addressed the students.
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Hasson goes on to say, “My fondest memory of the SAR stairs, however, is from Purim when the stairs are uncharacteristically calm and peaceful. Students and teachers alike would stand on those stairs in their respective tiered grades (relatively) silent, motionless, and with heads turned upwards in attention towards the principal's office from where the eighth grade would recite Megilat Esther. It was a rite of passage to stand atop those stairs and to contribute to SAR's communal reading of the Megilah. Of course, you were one of the lucky ones if you had a "Haman" in your designated portion because you got to trigger a deafening school-wide eruption of sound. I believe that contrast of sound and silence on Purim is representative of some of the best virtues of our beautiful community. We stand together with core values and support one another - and we do so loudly when necessary - but we likewise appreciate that each member of the SAR community has an individual voice, and, in order to afford each voice the respect it deserves, sometimes we must stand together in silence just to listen.”
Please share your “Once Upon a Staircase” story with us!