Falling into Enrichment

This fall, enrichment activities were extra special because of two gifted creatives, Brooke Anderson-Collie and Richard Rhodes.

Supported by the Joan Beauregard Endowment for Discovery and Enrichment, enrichment allows students to broaden their experience of what is possible and encourages them to dream big. It also provides an opportunity for students to ask questions, practice public speaking, and create connections.

Brooke Anderson-Collie, a school counselor and newly published author, knows how to speak to kids in their own language. This is particularly true when it comes to kids at Hamlin Robinson School, where Brooke herself was once a student. Wide eyes and intrigued glances filled the gym as she shared her story, brought to life in her first children’s book, Different. Stories of being singled out, being confused, and struggling to focus were shared, with constant echoes of the American Sign Language sign for “same” from the students.

At the time Brooke was learning to navigate her dyslexia as a student, there weren’t many stories represented in movies, TV shows, or children’s books that matched her life experience.

As she grew up and started her career in student counseling, Brooke realized she could be the one to write the story she was looking for as a child. So, over breakfast with her mom, Brooke began to bring her book to life. Sharing her book with students at Hamlin Robinson School gave a boost of encouragement and reinforced her belief in the power of representation. The shared experiences and encouragement in seeing Brooke succeed made for a special morning and a great start to enrichment experiences for the entire lower school.

To begin this year’s programming for the middle school, we were thrilled to welcome artist, sculptor, and stonemason Richard Rhodes. Those are just three words to describe him; he is also an alumna parent and a creative at the top of his craft. Throughout his presentation, students marveled over the chisels, stone samples, and hammers Richard brought to display. While Richard discussed the presence, complex texture, and interwoven patterns of stone and sculpture, students viewed slides of examples, with images of his work throughout the decades. They saw private commissions, fireplace facades, as well as large-scale public art displays. Included were art pieces like his untitled stone wave at the Tacoma Art Museum, his oversized stone eggs at the Minneapolis Children’s Hospital and his newest work still looking for a permanent home, Resolute Arch.

While some others may prefer a more malleable material like marble, Richard is partial to granite, with its time-tested durability and minimal weathering. Sculpture is not just art, it is not just stone, it can also be poetry; words and messages symbolized in stone. As such, using a material that can stand for generations was the only choice for him. The questions could have continued all day, with many students connecting to his work from their own personal and creative vision.

"If you are one of those people who can see poetry in stone, then the story of Richard Rhodes may need no explanation."

- The New York Times

A big thank you to Brooke and Richard for giving their time to HRS – and although the year is likely to be filled with many more enrichment opportunities, there could not have been a better way to begin!