Clairbourn is blessed with abundant nature, right on its own campus. With our hundreds of trees, our one hundred year-old hedges, our abundant flowers, plants, and now even vegetables, Clairbourn is a powerful example of the annual renewal that is an ever-present part of nature itself.
We can be grateful to the Bourne family for starting their educational enterprise here in the San Gabriel Valley. Moreover, we can be grateful to Mrs. Ethel Gardner for acting on the impulse to purchase the original "Sunnyslope property" back in 1930 as a permanent home for the four-year old school. Still further, we can be grateful to our Board of Trustees, who in 1958 acted on the impulse to purchase the adjoining five-acre homestead belonging to the Thompson family, expanding and extending the Clairbourn program to reach hundreds of new students in our community.
Without these strong ideas, acted upon by receptive and responsive caring supporters of the school, Clairbourn would not have the beautiful campus it enjoys today. While such tracts of land are not so unusual in outlying rural areas, the Clairbourn property, nearly eight acres of flat ground with no near neighbors, is an incredibly rare treasure in a large metropolitan area such as Los Angeles. This uncommon legacy of rich land has enabled our school to maintain nearly 60% of its property as open ground. Not only is there ample room for our instructional program, we have space for woods, gardens, and lawns that enhance the beauty of our surroundings.
Seeing this heritage and valuing its unique benefits has given rise to the new gardens our school now enjoys. Through the leadership of former and current Clairbourn staff members Jonathan and Hilary Barner, donor Betty Barker, staff member Nancy Ward, and others, we have added vegetable gardens and flower gardens that carry with them strong spiritual lessons of annual renewal. Mary Baker Eddy writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures:
The attraction between native qualities will be perpetual only as it is pure and true, bringing sweet seasons of renewal like the returning spring.1
Through the help of Farmscape, Inc., and others, we can help our students to see that success in academics, as in life, is not just a momentary event. When students get discouraged or stressed by new concepts, we can help them to put down the kind of roots that will feed and sustain their success now and in the future. From the same sturdy plant, many flowers and crops will bloom in cycles of renewal. So too, with our students, each year has its seeds, its watering, its below the surface, and its above the ground work to do. With teamwork and patient tending, the renewal of success will be assured. These are the “pure and true” qualities that serve as an attraction to our community’s young people and to their families.
Our 91st year lies ahead of us, a year of renewed calling and success. The students of our community are eagerly waiting for the joy and adventure that true learning brings. As with our gardens, lawns, hedges, and trees, there is beauty, peace, and satisfaction awaiting those ready and willing to help tend these young people. We can do no less!