View from the Bridge
On October 17 this year, the Town of Marion welcomed our school’s founder, Elizabeth Taber, home to our seaside village. I had the opportunity to spend a few moments with Mrs. Taber—well, not the real Elizabeth Taber, but a beautiful life-sized sculpture of her that now graces Marion’s Bicentennial Park.
In 2019, the Town of Marion commissioned New Bedford sculptor Erik Durant to create the statue in honor of Mrs. Taber. As former trustee and longtime Marion resident Tinker Saltonstall wrote, “Marion would be a very different place if Elizabeth Taber had not blessed us with her generosity and passion for education. [She was] an extraordinary benefactor.”
As I sat next to Mrs. Taber on that blustery fall afternoon, her torso turned slightly toward me welcoming a conversation, I wondered: What would she say if she were alive in 2020? Would she have forged ahead and reopened the schoolhouse even with all the uncertainties of the world? Would she have continued progress on building the Music Hall, the town library and the Natural History Museum? What would she have done to build relationships and engage in civil discourse within her own community if she were living during a time when there is much dissent across the country and protocols in place that keep everyone physically apart?
I reflected upon Mrs. Taber’s life and all that she endured—the unspeakable loss of her three children all before the age of five and the untimely death of her beloved husband, Stephen. However, even in the face of such enormous grief and adversity, Mrs. Taber chose to give back to the place she called home. She opened Tabor Academy in 1876, providing the foundation for the school we are today—a school that, in the face of a global pandemic, political unrest across our country and much uncertainty surrounding what is to come, has shown, like Mrs. Taber, great resilience.
I hope that Mrs. Taber would feel proud of our community during this unique time in history. As you’ll read in the pages of this magazine, our school has remained strong even during times of uncertainty. We’ve held virtual open houses, Zoom back-to-school nights, remote reunions and a virtual graduation (we have not forgotten about you, Class of 2020!). We’ve continued to build a community of belonging, and set aside a day to show our Black students, faculty and staff that we stand with them, we support them and we care about them. We’ve enhanced technology to convert our classrooms into hybrid learning spaces for both in-person and remote learners. We’ve expanded our co-curricular offerings this fall and have added outdoor spaces to socialize at a physical distance.
We’ve also forged ahead with the designs for a new student center—a building that will enable our community to engage in courageous conversations and to relax and enjoy the Tabor experience together. On October 22, we celebrated a modified Tabor Day here on campus—a day to cheer on friends and celebrate the seniors who are playing fall sports. We pulled out the uniforms, divided up the squads and competed against one another in a slate of games. And, in early November we celebrated our thespians and artists with a series of red carpet events.
There is much to feel good about, even as we navigate these uncharted waters. Sure, the Tabor of today looks and feels different than it did eight months ago, but we are together, living and learning through our mission and growing and evolving as the aspirational community we are.
As I walked away from the celebration honoring Elizabeth Taber, I looked back at her one last time to thank her for providing all of us a place we can call “home.”