Renaissance Man


Jason received his graduation award Monday night – The Renaissance Award – for outstanding performance in the areas of Drama, Music, and the Visual Arts. It was accompanied by a long heart-felt sacred standing ovation by the room packed with high school students and parents at the Fine Arts award ceremony, honoring the memory of this talented young man and dear classmate.

I received an email Monday morning if I could be there at night to receive the award for Jason. It was a very emotional moment but it didn’t really overtake me until after the ceremony. I wasn’t surprised they picked Jason; he certainly deserves this special award, the only one presented by the director of the Fine Arts programs in the Ipswich school systems. This is what he said when he presented the award:

“The Renaissance Award is given to a student who excels in all areas, in music, in art, and in theater. As a staff we get together to try to look at what to consider; there are so many students that are involved in all these areas, and so many talented students. And we kept coming back to this one student and no matter what we tried to get around it all, we kept coming back to this one student. Unfortunately Jason is not with us, but his spirit is with us. His incredible talent musically and artistically and in the theater as a member of the techies has been just within all of us. I know that he has influenced so many students here and so many teachers. He was an extremely creative young man, one of the most creative students that we’ve run into; extremely open-minded young man that had everything going in. His art work and his music continually “funded” that openness – his openness to many styles of music and art and many cultures, and through all of that created this very special young man – we miss you. He is really with us all. This year’s Renaissance award goes to Jason Foster. We ask his mother Michelle to receive this award for Jason.”

The fine arts director had gotten to know Jason in his freshman year class on electronic music, band class, the jazz improv class, Jason’s junior year independent study course on music composition, and witnessing Jason’s percussion ensemble performances, especially the last one he did 12/08 performing his music compositions on marimba from his independent study course. He may not have been aware of Jason’s photography talents until after he died. His recognition of Jason’s talents is greatly appreciated, and his willingness to give the award to a student who wasn’t present in the school this last year is admirable. Jason was present, in a different way.

It confirms to me that Jason’s spirit is so alive, continuing to inspire many.