Chinquapin Strong

What was my inspiration for this project? Nothing more than my love and appreciation for Chinquapin and everything it stands for. You see, Chinquapin is an entire entity onto itself; like most entities, it has a body and a spirit. The body is superficial; it can be beautiful, it can be symbolic, it can be comforting. All of these things I have felt while strolling about campus, waiting expectantly for dusk to shush the little things that only the most observant notice. Like how the wind blows softly on the majestic Chinquapin tree, our school’s namesake, its branches bouncing in the smoky air and the orange sunlight flickering between its autumn-colored leaves. This is the heart of campus, these flickerings like pulses, sending warmth and beauty through the interconnected tree branches like veins extending through the body or electrical impulses in the brain. If you watch from afar, sometime between the 5:20 bell before dinner and the 7 o’clock after, you’re almost sure to find some 6th graders running around, screaming, smiling, playing tag or hide-and-seek. Or see some of the boys playing an easy game of catch, or find some upperclassmen lying and laughing under the many trees sprawled between the dorms, or catch couples lounging on the benches under the shade of the library porch, or even hear Ethan playing his beloved guitar in the susurrus murmurings of low chatter at one of the outside tables of the dining hall. Walk into the gymnasium, through the sweaty basketballers dribbling on the newly polished floor court and into the old and creaky pavilion to find a volleyball circle going. These are the little beauties of campus that I adore on my spontaneous strolls, the little things I cherish that mean nothing at all, but that make up a story when woven all together. These little things are the spirit that give the beauty of the campus sustenance. Without them, Chinquapin is just a campus, no matter how beautiful, how symbolic, how comforting. So what was my inspiration? Well…There was no particular moment of realization, no specific triggering event, but rather a continuous story that I had been listening to for a long time. A story that deserved to be heard by its unsuspecting storytellers, that deserved to be illuminated to outsiders wishing to be a part of something as special as the Chinquapin spirit.

~ Kihana Wilson, Class of 2020


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