RICHMOND, Va. -- The Orchard House School in Richmond is a private middle school for girls (grades 5-8). The curriculum has a holistic and interdisciplinary approach, as seen through one of its traditions.
Each new girl creates a hand-stitched quilt square inspired by their English class study of Langston Hughes’ poetry. It starts by them drafting their own “Dream Poem." The poem is then translated into a quilt square; a visual statement of hope and a personal vision of how she hopes to contribute to the world.
Bring me all of your dreams,
Bring me all your
That I may wrap them
In a blue cloud cloth ~ Langston Hughes
"Identity formation is a really big part of adolescence”, says Haskins. “It's what girls spend a lot of time doing; thinking about who they are, what they want to be, what they want to contribute to the world.”
The girls present their quilt squares and an excerpt from their poem during their graduation ceremony.
The squares (and dreams) are pieced together over the summer and are reintroduced for the community to add their own stitches in silver and gold during the week leading up to Winter Ceremony.
The colors symbolize friends old and new and the stitches represent community support for the girls and their dreams.
The Dream Quilts hang proudly on the walls throughout Orchard House School.
"It's really about helping them find their voice and be confident to use it", says Haskins. “Our mission is to educate and inspire girls in every aspect of their lives”.