In Use, In Practice

February 9, 2024
Sarah Turner



As we welcome the longer days of late winter, I’ve had the chance to reflect on an essential aspect of North Bennet Street School. In a recent conversation with Roman Barnas—Department Head of our Violin Making & Repair program—an important idea emerged: “NBSS is not a destination.” Roman’s comment was a reminder that while our School is a place for intense learning and connection, it is a way station on a longer journey towards meaningful contributions in work, careers, and community.

At NBSS, we are regularly exploring the boundless impact of skilled craft and trade. We know that our school serves as a catalyst for change, igniting the potential within our students to create a better world with their expertise. These skills are most important—and made most relevant—when our students take these new-found abilities into the world beyond our building. Roman’s insight highlights the true value of an NBSS education: it lies not only in the skills our graduates acquire, but in how they apply these skills to enrich the lives of others.

You can see this at Memorial Hall in Charlestown where our Preservation Carpentry students are completing a full restoration of the historic building’s exterior, ensuring that it will be a part of the neighborhood for generations to come. While this client-based work occurs in Boston, our Locksmithing & Security Technology students and faculty are making community connections farther away, at the Yankee Security Convention in Connecticut. While learning about new products and participating in specialized coursework, students are also networking with suppliers, manufacturers, and a wide range of employers. Finally, halfway around the world, in Poland, two of our Violin Making & Repair students were applauded for their work in an international violin making competition focused entirely on student instruments. These conversations and occasions result in a broader awareness of our School, the building of professional relationships, and opportunities for positive change among individuals, businesses, and our industries at large.

As I think about these recent activities, I see a common thread. We are a vital and intensive school, and from that we are also a hub for partnerships and collaborations that extend far beyond our building. Our collective work serves as a bridge, connecting skilled craft and trade with the needs, talents, and work of broader communities. In turn, more and more people discover the value of our programs and work, bringing their perspective into the NBSS context and out again. 

I invite you to join us in a collective reflection: where do you see skilled craft and trade benefiting the community or being amplified through collaboration? Your insights, ideas, and experiences are essential in shaping the future of NBSS and how we work with partners. Please share your thoughts with us, whether it’s a project, an initiative, or a vision for the future. Together, we can continue to be a force for positive change in our neighborhoods, cities, and beyond.


Sarah Turner, President