On the first Saturday in May, two eighth grade classes not only marked the arrival of spring by dressing in white, weaving flower headdresses, and dancing with bright ribbons around a maypole, but also marked and celebrated their long-standing community here at Golden Valley River School. Usually there is just one maypole and one eighth grade class dancing. However, this year, the River School was fortunate to have two maypoles, one for each graduating eighth grade class, to celebrate, dance, and weave around in front of the school’s community.
At May Day, the students are not just grounded in a beautiful annual ritual of spring—they know they’re surrounded by something very close to extended family, their Golden Valley community village. The eighth graders look around the school’s field around the maypole ceremony and see people they know. The celebration begins with music played by the third grade on their recorders, a procession of the first grade grazes across the field and adorns the ground with rose petals, the eighth graders, paired off arm to arm, skip across and form a circle around each maypole. Then the festive dance of weaving the rainbow ribbons begins in front of the entire school community.
As the eighth graders dance, they look around the school’s field and they see many familiar faces. Many of the eighth graders have attended the school for 10 years. This is their village, and May Day is not just a dance performed by the eighth graders, but also a celebration of the Golden Valley village.
A whole community made this celebration possible and we would like to reach out and thank the many volunteers that coordinated and worked tirelessly in ensuring that the festival had its fine detail and served as a place to gather in community. We would like to reach out and give a special appreciation to Golden Valley parents Amie and Eric Walder for their efforts in scouting for a second maypole. They searched through many ads and found a man in Pollock Pines that was kind enough to let them scout the perfect pine tree on his property. The man’s trees were beetle invested and he was delighted to fell one and have it go to good use. He also assisted in loading it onto their trailer. Eric and Amie hauled this tree back to their home and stored it for the Pine Tree Eighth Grade class. We thank Golden Valley parent Ted Short and Garden Teacher Matt, for guiding the finishing process with the Eighth grade to have the maypole ready for their dance.