Blake Hubbard was an extraordinary young man whose death in January of 2012 sent a wave of shock and grief throughout the Trinity community. He was greatly loved while he lived and studied among us (from Kindergarten to grade 9), and since his death many more have come to know about the character and faith of this young man. He has left a powerful legacy of faith, friendship, and the playful spirit of Trinity School. It becomes more and more clear that he was in many ways a model Trinity student. He was many things–skilled tennis player, friend to many (especially the unpopular), delightful playmate, and–most of all–follower of Jesus Christ.
The Trinity community, the friends of the Hubbard family, and the larger local community have responded to Blake’s death with an outpouring of love and generosity. Over 1200 people came to his memorial service held on campus. Three events have been organized at or near his birthday in April at the Hope Valley Country Club. And in total over $1.1M have been donated to Trinity School in Blake’s honor.
To honor this young man’s memory, the school first pursued the purchase of land and the development of a tennis complex, but that project did not easily come to fruition, and along the way Trinity perfected its campus master plan and identified the need for a student and learning commons space. A commons is a space shared by many grades, many classes, even many divisions at the school. It is a versatile space, since it will have many different functions. A student commons is a space that fosters relationships, fellowship, play, and shared activities. A learning commons is a space that supports student learning, both individual and in collaborative forums.
When the Hubbard family learned of the school’s need for a commons space, they were glad for this to become the space that honored Blake. Their desire, and ours, is for this space to tell Blake’s story, which is also the story of Christ’s salvation. Blake was a passionate and humble follower of Jesus Christ, and the idea of building a space that embodied that faith commitment, one that might pass the Gospel along to many generations of Trinity students, was a great consolation to the Hubbard family.The Board of Trinity School has approved the design and building of the Blake Hubbard Commons. We are partnering with DudaPaine Architects and the builder Bruce Harrod to move forward with a plan to break ground during the 2014–2015 school year.
Why a Commons?
Trinity needs common space: flexible and shared. Visit the school in session and you will see students spilling out into the hallways and sitting on the floors of classrooms at breaks and lunch. The Upper School’s morning devotional, Cornerstone, is packed with students sitting on the floor and requires the moving of permanent furniture every morning. Teachers meet one on one with students for coaching and assessment in makeshift arrangements in the hallways. Classes that divide into groups for collaborative projects share spaces not designed for such important work. The Library serves so many different functions (study hall, quiet study space, noisy collaborative space, meeting space, presentation space, book repository) that there are always hard compromises. Students share the Blue Gym with PE classes for weekly worship. Students have to eat lunches nearly everywhere in the Upper School.
A Commons space will create learning and co-curricular spaces that support the mission of the school. It will be a place for Cornerstone and worship. It will encourage and sustain a playful and unhurried approach to learning. It will create space for relationships and friendships to grow. And it will provide resources and space for our classical education, rich and unhurried.
Most importantly, this space will tell the story of Blake Hubbard and of his faith in Jesus Christ. Every Trinity student will work, study, and play in this space and will be impacted by the legacy of this young man.
In 2015, about the same time we hope to open the Blake Hubbard Commons, the school will launch its Digital Learning Initiative. Students in grades 6–12 will receive a digital device, and these will afford new opportunities for learning, study, research, collaboration, and production. The combination of smart pedagogy, creative spaces, and powerful learning tools promises fruitful learning opportunities for our students.
The Commons, as designed by DudaPaine, will be an inspiring space, one that is in the very center and heart of Trinity’s campus. When people walk into this space, there will be a powerful sense of wonder. This will be a space that people will be drawn to and into, a place people will want to linger and learn.
Trinity continues to sustain strong enrollment and to add students each year. The school’s reputation is growing in the community, and the opportunity to establish a signature learning and student commons means that Trinity’s distinctive mission will be supported within the community and promoted widely. Trinity’s students, staff, and families will benefit immediately from this space. Many from the community are likely to visit this space: for Open Houses, for community lectures, for concerts, for neighborhood meetings. It will almost certainly become the most distinctive space on campus, a sort of branding of the school.
Trinity’s need and Trinity’s opportunity intersect with Blake Hubbard’s story as well. Blake would have been a senior in the 2014–2015 school year. The chance to bring the Blake Hubbard Commons out of the ground during Blake’s classmates’ senior year is poetic and compelling. That class has suffered much in the loss of their dear friend, and for them to see this space coming to reality is a redemptive move by the Trinity community. What is more, for the Hubbard family, a building in Blake’s honor is a recompense–inadequate but real–for the sadness of seeing the class of 2015 graduate without their son. We want to do this now. The 2014–2015 school year is an opportunity that will never come again.