NBSS SCRIPT: 3rd Draft
It was founded one hundred and thirty-one years ago in Boston’s North End.
In 1881, the North Bennet Street School’s stated mission was to assist
the city’s great influx of immigrants by training them in skills they would need
for gainful employment. To learn to make things, and in so doing, to make something
of their lives.
Across the years, the North Bennet Street School has transformed itself
from a provider of education and social services, to a provider of opportunity for
veterans returning from war, to an internationally recognized professional school of
The school is a unique place, where learning comes from doing and the hands
engage the mind. School President Miguel Gomez Ibanez said this:
“When you become involved in the creative work of making useful, beautiful
objects and gain a personal understanding of what is meant by the intelligence of
the hands, it transforms who you are and how you think.”
Here, he elaborates on that notion, framing where we find ourselves today as a
culture and all that’s at risk of being lost:
<swipe clip from ‘Craft in America’ video on website, Miguel speaking to camera>
“The value of manual skills training to society is becoming more apparent. As we
become disillusioned with technological improvements, we see that we are more
disconnected from the way things are made and the processes. We are more able to
understand the loss of culture and knowledge that is embedded in hand-made
Today, the school and its mission are at a crossroads unique in its history.
Increasing space constraints have meant two programs were relocated to
Arlington, and one to South Boston. The school is out of space, the school
community is fragmented and the expansion or enhancement of any program can
only be made at the expense of another.
What will become of the school and its singular traditions of learning by hand?
To quote an old Quaker expression, “Way opens.”
For the North Bennet Street School, the “Way” is the availability of a 60,000
square foot building, just blocks from its current site in the North End. To complete
the build-out and purchase from the city of Boston, the school has embarked on a
$15 million dollar capital campaign. The effort is in equal parts ambitious and
urgent: to accommodate the city’s tight schedule, the school must complete
construction and vacate its former space by September, 2013.
Again, Miguel Gomez Ibanez:
<lift this clip with Miguel from the current capital campaign film>
“I think this is about the most exciting time in the history of the school. Now we have
the opportunity to build a new school for the first time since 1881. It’s the
opportunity of a lifetime for the school. A building that has become available for the
first time in the North End. Sixty thousand feet of industrial space, perfectly
suited to our needs. “
The North Bennet Street School community, while steeped in history, feels keenly
the urgency of the present. The prospect of a new home that will let the school carry
its mission far into the future is close, but the timing in which it all has to transpire
feels closer with each passing day. Your generous financial support is needed now.
Please, go to NBSS.edu and give as generously as you can. Give so generations
through this and the next century can discover the one school where learning comes
from doing and the hands engage the mind.”