Every day, Commonwealth’s character reveals itself as students ask questions, joke with each other and with teachers, and take on the topics and concerns that are foremost on their minds. An intense curiosity coupled with a sense of humor are apparent in all their school activities—organized and unplanned, academic and extracurricular.
Many students get to school early. They’ve come on foot, or via bicycle, train, bus, subway, or car, and are eager to get started with their day. They sit on the floor in a cozy alcove in the lobby, or migrate to the library, a classroom, or a studio. Several pick out a song together on guitars, some work on laptops, others find teachers and talk before class. At the end of the day the scene replays itself. Students stay beyond the end of classes, doing homework, making music together, grabbing a snack in the neighborhood and returning for sports or a play rehearsal. They seem reluctant to leave school.
The atmosphere is casual and welcoming. Commonwealth students create their own culture, and it’s a very generous one. They accept each other, quirks and all. The chess enthusiast and the soccer captain have equal status. Students feel safe to be themselves here, at home in this small community that values diligent work, joyous play, and friendship.