NBSS SCRIPT: 3rd Draft

P.S. Louison




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.”