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Nothing But Life Here

On a Friday afternoon in late April, a gunman opened fire from an adjacent apartment building and injured three of our community members. 

On Wednesday, May 4, hundreds of students, teachers, parents, neighbors, and friends gathered at Howard Field for a symbolic reopening ceremony – before walking down Upton Street together and reentering the school buildings. Sean Felix led the program, joined by fellow faculty and administrators from Burke, as well as special guests from Georgetown University.

From Burke:
  • Sean Felix, 6th Grade Core / MS Dean of Community
  • Damian Jones, current Head of School
  • Steve McManus, incoming Head of School
From Georgetown:
With musical performances by Daniel R. (English), John H. (Performing Arts, Chair), Liz R. (Performing Arts), and Phillip H. (Performing Arts / Athletics)
"There Is Nothing But Life Here"
by Sean Felix
delivered on May 4 2022
_____

Crack

A hard rain falls,
turning sunlight
into a prismatic shower.
As time loses its axis,

every step
is imbued with history,
every hole in the glass
becomes a galaxy,
every widened pupil
a black hole—
echoing:

I’m scared.
I’m scared.
I’m scared.

And I call back:

Come to me.
Come to me.
Come to me.
I will protect you.

For the first time
in a long time
life—that ever elusive concept
is real,
because you are real.
The child is real.

Every moment we are together
is all of human history.
Every step
we take together
along the floor,
out the door,
and into secluded darkness
with others seeking shelter
from the terrible storm.

What we share
in this dark moment
is the clarity of tragedy.
We are young.
We are old.
We are storytellers.
We are builders and shapers of reality.
We are beautiful.
And we are terribly fragile.
When we endure together,
we share the fear and the pain
and make this bearable,
because we—
we
are!

And damn it
if this doesn’t hurt.
I’ve greeted the morning with tears,
and at night, in my dreams,
bullets pierce the sky
and children are stolen away.
But I dare not lose this time,

because this is how it all changes.
We can’t push this away,
bury it in the dust of statistics,
or the narrative of mental illness,
and rising crime or gun violence.
This is not a culture war.
This is a war on humanity,
and the lines are clear—
The craven, the greedy, and the weak
are on the side of death!
The strong, the generous, and the brave
are on the side of life,
and there is nothing but life here!
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Co-ed, progressive, college prep school in Washington, DC featuring a challenging curriculum in an inclusive environment for grades 6-12.