Sarah Jane Adicoff (SJA) Memorial Fund
In the spring of 2017, our head of school, Kara Riordan, will officially launch the Sarah Jane Adicoff Memorial Fund. This fund is dedicated to the spirit and spunk of Sarah Adicoff. Kara will direct these funds to support programs at Mulberry School as well as individual students in the form of financial aid.
It was just a regular day in our fifth grade classroom. Music was playing, and this high energy group of students had spent the first part of the day on writer’s workshop and math, and plenty of running, jumping, negotiating, and socializing at lunch–so of course it had been a wonderful day of learning so far. We had been studying the science and innovation around humans surviving and researching in extreme environments. It was “The Jason Project”, as in Jason and the Argonauts from Greek mythology, and the title of the integrated curriculum created by Dr. Robert Ballard. Students have the chance to research, experiment, design for, create, understand all the aspects of actual research happening in the field. The current research investigated the International Space Station, and the Underwater Research Laboratory, Aquarius…the program was titled, “Going to Extremes”.
While this sounds incredibly compelling, we did have one afternoon where the kids’ focus and engagement was lagging. The students were in two teams to represent the two different extreme environments and somewhat dragging through the necessary background research section that day…struggling to get through this step as next steps would be design. Sarah was urging everyone to kick into gear, get motivated, stop being so blah….before we knew it…she decided that the missing piece of this puzzle was….costumes!! Sarah and cronies pulled out the lavender oversized paint shirts as lab coats, and created hair nets, and masks out of plastic plates! Once we were all suited up, the lesson continued…but with laughter, teamwork, and the spark that was missing.
Sarah was, and is an inspiration to me. When I think of her, I still picture the healthy 11 year old; spunky, with a mischievous twinkle in her eye. She was a champion for others, for doing the right thing, for friendships, and for having fun. She was fearless in standing up for what she believed was right, and spoke the truth, when helping friends to problem solve the difficulties of friendships, and when choices that were made were not always positive. But we all knew we could count on her to represent integrity and kindness.