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Pioneering eco-writer is guest of honor at green school

A self-described environmental muckraker was the guest of honor at the official opening of Woodbury's newest school.

The Michael Frome Academy, a charter school at Woodbury Crossing with an emphasis on green living and environmentally aware education, held its open-air dedication on Friday, Sept. 19, a couple weeks after opening its doors to its first students.

Michael Frome himself, a pioneering conservation journalist, was the guest of honor, giving a speech to the 40 or so K-3 graders and assembled parents, teachers and local dignitaries.

"The most important legacy our generation can leave is not a world of bigotry, homelessness, hunger and war, but a viewpoint of human distress, concern and love," said Frome, who traveled from his home in Wisconsin for the occasion with his wife June Eastvold.

"It all begins within the individual, inside oneself, with one's own eco-system, finding the unity of body, mind and spirit and reaching out to others to do the same.

"I believe students at the Michael Frome Academy will benefit from its alternative approach."

Little four-year-old Woodbury resident Jae Taylor, who will be enrolling at the school next year, was super-excited to meet Frome, giving him a kiss on the cheek before the dedication got underway.

"She's starting here next year, so I thought we should come and meet everybody," explained Jae's mom Terri. "I told her Michael Frome was a famous explorer, and she said, 'Oh, we need to meet him!'"

Bill Hargis, the mayor of Woodbury, performed the ceremonial ribbon-cutting with a giant pair of scissors, while musical entertainment was provided by four Suzuki violinists, the students of Wendy Tangen-Foster, the daughter of the Michael Frome Academy founders Jim and Laurel Tangen-Foster.

The academy students themselves also performed several songs for parents before and after the ceremony.

Jane Husnik, a board member of the school and parent of a student, thanked her fellow parents for their belief in the vision.

"Thank you for taking the leap of faith with me and sending your kids to a school you couldn't see yet," she laughed.

"Thank you also to our teachers who stuck it out all summer long and also believed in the mission of the Michael Frome Academy."

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