Crossing the Threshold

By Lauren Quinn, Co-Founder & Head of School

On Thursday, we celebrated the beginning of a brand new school year at The Village School. No, it was not our first day of school- it was our second annual launch party, in which families and heroes are invited to tour the studios, meet their Guides, and connect with other families over lunch. In addition, this event serves as an opportunity to announce our overarching question of the year and our seven planned quests (projects) heroes will participate in.

There is one other reason we hold this event each year. It is to explicitly bring attention to the beginning of a new adventure. We call this the “call to adventure”, as we recognize that each family joining us each year has answered this call by choosing an Acton Academy education.

We mark the event symbolically, with a short ceremony, in which our heroes are asked if they accept the call to embark on a Hero’s Journey and then are invited to “cross the threshold” before entering the school. The act of jumping (or stepping) over some type of physical threshold symbolizes the start of something new and serves as the milestone marking the first step of their journeys at The Village school.

This year, the enthusiasm was palatable, and after a loud and resounding “YES!” from most of our heroes, they jumped over a bright green ribbon and swiftly made their way towards their designated studio.

And yet, as expected, not all of our Heroes strode forward with excitement and confidence. For some, particularly our youngest learners, an extended hand of an older Hero or a parent was the reassurance needed to cross the threshold. For a few others, they chose to hang back, entering the building when the crowd had cleared while proceeding with evident caution.

Change is hard. While many individuals embrace change with open arms, it is far more common to resist or avoid change. At some point this year, even our most confident heroes will choose resistance or avoidance when faced with something new or hard. This is part of the journey.

As parents, it’s important to know this is completely normal. Whether it’s the start of a new school year, a new learning challenge, or a new sports team, our children will display the very natural human tendency to resist the change.

When this happens, our job is simple: Validate, Support, Empower.

  1. Validate and normalize: “It’s normal to feel overwhelmed or scared of trying something new.”
  2. Support and share: “I am here for you. Can I tell you about a time I felt the same way?”
  3. Empower: Express your belief in them and their ability to handle change- over and over. “You are going to do great! I can’t wait to hear all about your day.”

Before you know it- the storm will have passed and a new and changed hero stands before you, all the more confident in their ability to handle the next and inevitable challenge that comes their way. And when they are cautiously standing in front of the next threshold, you now have a story of triumph to pull from your back pocket to remind your hero in the making just how capable they really are.

Fighting Dragons: A Hero Reflects

By Lauren Quinn, Co-Founder & Head of School

One of our five core beliefs at The Village School is our belief in the importance of a closely connected community of lifelong learners.

Because of this, our model supports a learning community as small as 10 and as large as 150-which, according to anthropologist Robin Dunbar, asserts that humans cannot comfortably maintain stable social relationships with more than 150 people. Beyond this, there have been numerous studies that have shown the importance of close and trusting relationships for positive learning outcomes and overall well-being.

There are other magic ingredients too- multi-age environments, peer-to-peer learning, a trusted guide, and a framework for making sense of the inevitable challenges and struggles we all face. Size is important, but it’s only one small part of what makes our learning model work. True community in an Acton Academy, is formed with these key ingredients. With them, deep friendships can be forged, challenges can be embraced, and dragons can by fought and beaten.

Recently, we held our first annual “Celebration of Heroes”, in which a few of our Elementary Learners gave speeches highlighting their experiences from the year and various lessons learned. From these speeches, one theme emerged- community, connection, and friendship. Of all the things they had learned and mastered- from creating a business, planting a garden, designing a playground, to writing a pitch or a fictional story, it seemed the most important thing they had learned was that true learning and transformation is found in relationship with others- in a “closely connected community of lifelong learners.”

Below, is an excerpt from a speech given by one of our Level 5 learners.

Before I came here I went to a public school, where I wasn’t the most loud outgoing person. I didn’t talk much, and I never really talked to anyone out of my friend group or spoke up when I had an issue. I know for a fact I definitely wouldn’t be giving a speech like this this, not because I had nothing to say, but because I didn’t have the courage to say it. And I know everyone, has definitely felt that way before. So as you could imagine, coming to a totally new school was nerve wracking, but now I can say with certainty that I don’t regret coming here one bit. 

One of my favorite quotes is “Fairy tales are more than true: Not because they tell us dragons exist, but because they tell us dragons can be beaten.”  I have faced some dragons, and I know there will be more to come. So the thing is, how can we prepare for these dragons? The answer is simple- you can’t. Even if it was possible to prepare for everything you wouldn’t want to. Without the dragons, you wouldn’t learn. 

So what’s the next best thing you can do? Make true friends. A true friend will help you through your hard times, and congratulate you on your good. In coming to The Village School, I’ve made many of these true friends, and I wouldn’t be where I am today, if it weren’t for them. Sure, I didn’t talk for the whole first week at school, but these friends showed me that there was no reason for that. I was so afraid of being judged, I didn’t even see how nice they were and didn’t give it a shot at first. But guess what happened when I did? I found the courage to face this dragon and I learned that you should spend less of your life worrying and more of it going for it. I know it may seem like the end of the world at the time, but when you get through it, you can look back at the view and see what it really was all for. Because after all it’s not as hard as you think, especially when you have friends with you on the journey.

Changing the Context

By Lauren Quinn, Co-Founder & Head of School

“Who we are at any one time depends mostly on the context we find ourselves.” -Ellen Langer

Context is defined as “the interrelated conditions in which something exists.” This idea of context and identity has always fascinated me, but never more than this year as we began the adventure of changing the context of school for a small group of 5-10 year olds.

My guiding question: What happens when we change the context of learning? If the conditions (the rules, the environment, the narratives, the roles of individuals) change- what then happens to the individual learner?

Of course, our team was equipped with the stories of those who went before us, from founders Jeff and Laura Sandefer, who pioneered the very first Acton Academy a decade ago, to our network colleagues who had launched their schools in the years prior.

We were confident in what what we were offering families. Even on the challenging days- and there have been many, we have never doubted that the learning environment, context, or “interrelated conditions” of which our young heroes find themselves in every day, is one designed for human flourishing.

As our inaugural school year comes to a close, we have many stories of our own now- stories of young humans flourishing. I’ve been incredibly privileged to witness the remarkable things that happen when we throw out the traditional, compliance-based model of education and introduce a learner-driven model designed to empower. Below is a story of one remarkable young learner in our community.

One of our 8 year old heroes entered the school year with three tumultuous years of traditional school and all of the typical behaviors of what one might call a twice exceptional child- impulsive, emotionally explosive, hyperactive, and highly distracted- all typical of a learner diagnosed with ADHD and, at the same time, highly gifted (by academic standards). He expressed not feeling like he “fit” anywhere and that no one understood him. He hated school and had developed a general distrust of teachers/educators.

His parents had tried medication, at the pediatricians recommendation, for a brief time but had stopped when they saw a concerning shift in mood. In the first month of school, he earned three strikes for his impulsive behavior and had to stay home for a day. In the second month of school, he exhibited greater self control and was far less argumentative with his fellow heroes. As part of our learning design, he was provided both warm and cool feedback from his peers at the end of each session. Though hard at first, he took this constructive feedback to heart and began to thrive in a system of peer accountability, choice and freedom. His parents let us know, at the advice of another Acton parent, they also started him on daily magnesium and zinc supplement.

By the fourth month of the school year, the changes in this hero were remarkable. His general demeanor had changed. He appeared visibly happy, with a peace about him. In this new learning environment, he was free to walk in circles while thinking or walk outside the studio doors and run a few laps before coming back to his work, refreshed. He was able to climb trees and dig in the dirt and just BE. We watched as he was able to focus for longer and longer periods of time- largely in part because he was finally able to work in his individual “challenge zone” and on things that interested him.

Ultimately, what we witnessed, was a young person- free from the constraints of an adult trying to manage him, control him, or even tirelessly engage him with what they deemed as important- who was now empowered. No longer a passive recipient of his “schooling” experience, he was honored as a co-creator, a maker, a hero by his own right. It was as if an enormous burden had been lifted.

He sensed the shift and was grateful for it. Halfway through the school year, he wrote our Elementary Guide a heartfelt letter, thanking her for “showing up each day and guiding him on his hero’s journey.” His parents said, not only did he write this at home unprompted, but in years past he had expressed anger and even tears when asked to write his teacher a thank you note. This to me is a stellar example of what happens in an environment of mutual respect.

Now, at the tail end of the school year, this young learner is hardly recognizable from the child we knew in September. He exhibits a pride in himself, in his abilities, and our school- even more so perhaps, because of where he’s been and what he’s overcome to get here.

The verdict is out- the shift in context is everything.

Measuring Growth

By Lauren Quinn, Co-Founder & Head of School

As a mastery-based school, our learners work hard each day to master the foundational skills of reading, writing, and math. But what about the non-academic skills? What about character growth? How do we measure meta-cognitive growth (or the ability to think about thinking)? What about social/emotional growth?

As we near the last session of our inaugural year together, I decided to find my own answers to these questions by asking our heroes directly.

What do you want your parents to know about your time spent at TVS?

“I want them to know that this is really hard and I’m doing my best.”

“I want them to know I am learning and I’ve gotten a lot better at figuring things out on my own.”

“It’s okay if we don’t enjoy everything we’re learning because it’s important to do it and feel the sense of accomplishment. We’ll be okay. We’ll be better than okay if we do something hard.”

“Sometimes I get mad but I’m learning how to work through things.”

“Sometimes I’ll get hurt, but I’ll be okay.”

“I am happy. We have freedom. I’m cared for here.”

What’s changed for you? (“I used to think/do _________but now I ___________.”)

“I used to think work was torture, but now I think of work as a challenge and a way to feel good about yourself. Laziness doesn’t feel good.”

“I used to think I wasn’t very good at learning, but now I know I am.”

“I used to think math was boring and I didn’t need it for life but now I’m in the middle because I’m getting better at it.”

“I used to be mad at everything. The rules were stupid at my old school and there was a lot of drama. I never wanted to go. I like coming to school now- except when I’m tired.”

“My view on things that are hard has changed. I think now the things you resist are often the things we need the most.”

“I used to think that I was just okay at things like math and spelling, but now I think I’m good at them. Also, I think I’m a more interesting person now.”

“I used to think I was clever, but now I know I am clever and smart.”

And, one of my personal favorites, (most of our heroes pack their own lunches each day…)

“I used to pack a small lunch but now I make sure to pack a big lunch.”

Sometimes, all it takes is a good question to measure growth.

When the Paradigm Shifts

By Lauren Quinn, Co-Founder & Head of School

How old were you when you realized that the adults in your life did not, in fact, have “it all figured out”?

My childhood experience went something like this: There were kids and there were adults. Adults had big, important things to do and it was best if us kids stayed out of their way so they could do all of the big, important, and mysterious adult “things”. These things required the cleverness, skill and seriousness that only an adult possessed. These adult “things” included cooking, shopping, planning trips, devising schedules, working, managing money, managing relationships- among other things. At home and at school, the adults made the rules and because adults had it all figured out, we (mostly) followed the rules without question.

And then, inevitably, this paradigm fails us. As we become more worldly, we realize the adults in our lives- the moms, the dads, the teachers, the administrators, the “bosses” and societal leaders are not the omnipotent beings we believed them to be. There is no race with a finish line and prize of “having it all figured out.” Those adults in our lives? They were just humans trying to figure it out as they went along.

I was far too old before I came to this understanding of adulthood. Regardless of your age, this initial paradigm shift is scary and confusing. It can lead us to question nearly all of our closely held assumptions. What does it mean to really “know” something? Who makes the rules? If adults are not as powerful as I thought, am I safe? If there is no such thing as the “all-knowing adult”, who is going to teach me “all the things”? If we are all just trying to figure this life thing out at the same time, are we doomed? How do I proceed now that the rules are blurred and the finish line no longer exists?

And then, bit by bit, we begin the arduous (and often painful) process of piecing together this new world we’ve now found ourselves in- often “unlearning” so much of what we pocketed as truth.

Step back a bit, and perhaps we can see the cultural and societal costs of this rebuilding process. (This is an interesting article on the topic).

Is it necessary? Or can we do better?

Imagine instead, a version of childhood that looks like this: Adults and children are each learners with different amounts and types of life experience. Both experiences are respected and important. Children work alongside adults, asking them questions related to the process of learning. These questions allow children to see that most of the things adults seem to be “mysteriously” good at, are from years of practice, determination, grit and failure. Starting from a young age, children learn the art of cooking, shopping, planning trips, devising schedules, working, managing money, managing relationships and, among many other things, they learn how capable they are. At home and at school, the adults make the “big” rules (safety, well-being, etc) yet engage the child in the very important process of creating the other rules. Each step along the way, the child is encouraged to look at all existing systems and “rules” from a place of curiosity.

Can you imagine this?

Growing up this way, children are shaped by a much different worldview. Early on, they recognize themselves as co-creators of knowledge and the adult-child relationship is based on respect, empathy and trust. They understand themselves to be leaders not followers, creators not consumers, and powerful agents of change.

This is why there are no “all knowing” adults at The Village School. It is why we have Guides and not teachers. It is why we have heroes instead of students and children. It is why we are all (adults included) learners on a journey.

We can imagine the paradigm shift described above because this is the very worldview etched in every part of learning design and community culture at TVS.

Step back a bit, and perhaps we can see the endless possibilities of building such a world. (Not to mention the relief, that now, as adults, we can graciously admit, that we most certainly do not “have it all figured out.”)

Clean and Simple

By Lauren Quinn, Co-Founder & Head of School

“You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” – Steve Jobs

As we know, life is far from clean and simple. Our modern world inundates us with mixed messages and overwhelming noise. Without clear thinking, our children are vulnerable to so much.

Our learners cultivate critical thinking skills in daily Socratic discussions and they practice making good decisions by actually having the freedom to make many of the decisions that shape their day. You can’t become a critical thinker without having ample time to think and reflect. You can’t become a good decision maker without actually being able to decide things.

It seems silly to spell out. However, most institutions don’t give our children the freedom or opportunity to make many decisions themselves.

At The Village School, our young learners have been testing out their freedom and decision making abilities for the past seven months. Through trial and error, constant feedback, and daily practice, they have been working hard to make their thinking “clean and simple.”

Has it worked? Can we see tangible evidence of clear thinking?

A recent experience in our own home gave me an answer to this wondering. After a particular challenging day, I flopped down on the couch next to our nine year old and asked, “What do you do when you realize you made a mistake and aren’t particularly proud of yourself?”

Our son sat up tall, looked at me and spoke as if he had been simply waiting around for me to ask this exact question.

“First, I would apologize if I need to- like if I was unkind or overreacted to something.

Second, I would remind myself that everyone makes mistakes. People are way harder on themselves than other people are on them. Just because I’m mad at myself doesn’t mean everyone else is mad at me. They’re probably not even thinking about me.

Third, I would get quiet and still until I felt calm.

Fourth, I reflect on what I could do differently next time so I don’t feel like this. I probably let the wrong part of my brain tell me what to do. This side shouts, “Do this! It’s the way you’ve always done it. It’s the quickest and easiest way.” The other side whispers, “Slow down, pay attention. You can try a different way.” You have to stop long enough to listen to the voice that whispers.

Lastly, I would make myself do something I really like even if I don’t feel like it. Just doing it can fix a bad mood.”

Clean and simple- the type of thinking that will move mountains.

Is Struggle a Good Thing?

By Lauren Quinn, Co-Founder & Head of School

Our children deserve honest struggle which builds deep, strong roots.” – Laura Sandefer

Is struggle a good thing?

It certainly doesn’t feel good. Watching our children struggle is one of the hardest parts of being a parent. It makes my skin itch and my heart beat a little faster. It is the epitome of discomfort. In no way, shape or form does it come naturally to me.

Embracing struggle is part of the journey at The Village School. It’s in our ethos. We allow our learners to struggle because they deserve it.

They deserve the experience of losing a game, navigating tricky relationships, missing a deadline, and feeling uncomfortable, unprepared, or unsure at times.

As an educator, and especially as a mother, being a witness to a child in the midst of struggle is heart-wrenching. It’s in our DNA as humans to try and avoid pain after all.

But, without it- there is no transformation. Without honest struggle, we take away the opportunity for our children to build deep, strong roots.

So, is struggle a good thing? Yes, it is- even though it doesn’t feel good.

Because the other side of struggle- that place where we stand after losing, failing, procrastinating, forgiving, apologizing, accepting, etc.- this is the place our children must be allowed to get to, again and again, if we really want to see them soar.

Coming Up With a Plan

A Note From Our Head of School:

This year, we’ve seen the motivation in the studio ebb and flow. This can happen for many reasons- a learning challenge doesn’t resonate, a hero falls victim to distraction, or feels overwhelmed by the mastery objectives left in their badge plan for the year.

Our guides serve to observe and shepherd this energy- by looking closely and figuring out how to increase the motivation in the studio as a whole or for an individual learner. This can involve tweaking the learning design in some way, uniting the group and moving them toward a common goal or, most often, holding up the mirror for a hero- asking them questions to help them identify where they’re stuck and empowering them to develop a plan to accomplish their goals.

As parents, we can do the same.

Recently, it became clear that my nine year old was struggling. He was doing little work in the studio and his attitude was verging on apathetic. It was clear he was stuck. So, one evening I sat down to talk with him. After asking a few questions that were met with short and uninformative answers, I asked simply, “What’s bothering you?”

He looked at me for a moment and then said, “I don’t think I’m going to finish all my badges by the end of the year.”

Here it was. He was feeling the weight and responsibility of truly being responsible for his own learning. While our model of self-paced learning is designed to empower, it can be hard when you aren’t feeling particularly powerful.

So what do we do in this situation? As parents, we too can hold up the mirror for our children. In asking the right questions, we can help them get “unstuck”.

Here is a helpful process- one that we used just this week in our own home.

Ask the question, “What is priority for you?”

  • being patient with myself
  • allowing myself time to grow
  • planning out my time 

This question helps reinforce the flexibility of our self-paced learning design and remind your child that their individual priorities matter- and can be different from someone else. In our case, our son was crystal-clear on his priority of planning out his time. Finishing his badges by the end of school year was important to him.

The next series of questions were as followed.

“Would you like me to help you plan out your time?” (Yes.)

“Would you like to set aside time today or tomorrow to meet?” (Tomorrow.)

The next day we sat down and he showed me around the online dashboard that tracks his progress. I was sure to offer a lot of growth mindset praise on all that he has accomplished since September and together, we hashed out a plan to complete his goal (not mine) of completing his Level 3 badges by July. I did not touch his computer but I did offer to act as scribe. What resulted was a practical path forward- big goals broken down into bite-size chunks, and an obvious sense of relief and renewed sense of purpose for our son.

By listening closely when our children seem to be weathering an “emotional storm”, reaffirming our belief in them, and offering (rather than imposing) our support, we can show them, again and again, just how powerful they are.

Measuring What Matters

A Note From Our Head of School:

One of the many things that drew me to Acton Academy’s learning model was the emphasis on authentic assessments through public exhibitions of learning. After spending several years as an educator in the public school system, I was looking for a learning community that measured what matters, not what was easy to measure.

I thought about my own children. I wanted them to be more than active participants in their learning- I wanted them to be owners of their learning. I saw this in my oldest son’s “Reggio-inspired” PreK class, but I hadn’t seen it upon his entry into Kindergarten and the following Primary years spent in our neighborhood public school.

In observing my own children and the countless others I’ve guided over the years, one of the things I know for sure is children want deep, meaningful work and they want to have something to show for it. Something that they can point to and say, “I did that!”

Have you ever heard a child excitedly point to a test or grade on a report card and say, “I did that!”? Probably not- because they have no intrinsic reason to care.

Public exhibitions of learning provide a chance for a young person to show the world what they can do. It is the culminating event of a long-term project, providing real-world situations and real-time feedback. It is the opportunity for a learner to stand back with a sense of satisfaction and say, “I did that.”

An integral part of our learning design at The Village School, are our Exhibitions of Learning which take place at the end of each session (every five to six weeks). These are our tests- real-world assessments for the Heroes to prove what they have accomplished. These events are designed and executed by our learners themselves with parents and guests invited to attend. In addition to showing what they’ve learned, these exhibitions are designed to serve as incentives for the Heroes over the course of a session. Nothing like a deadline and an audience to get people cranking on their work.

This week, we ended our first session as a community with our first Exhibition of Learning. Heroes showcased their new roles as self-directed learners by walking parents through a typical day at school, explaining the various online software programs for Core Skills, presenting their finished book of poems, summarizing their Civilization and Art challenges, and explaining the intentional, thoughtful process of creating their community contract.

These young people had learned so much over the past five weeks and I was thrilled that they would have the opportunity to show all of their hard work to their families. I had so many ideas of how it should go, what it should look like, what they should say- AND, I wasn’t allowed to share ANY of them.

As a learner-driven community, our heroes do it all. They plan, delegate, make the programs and run the exhibition, entirely themselves. While I am well-versed in the value of this experience for our learners, this was HARD. While I know the process of learning is far more important than the finished product, I found myself fighting my impulses to control the outcome in efforts to alleviate my discomfort in being faced with the unknown.

What would it look like? What would our families think? What if they failed?

As I stepped back and watched the exhibition planning from the sidelines, I found comfort in this passage I had read by Laura Sandefer, Director of Acton Austin.

“There is a caveat I give parents about these exhibitions: be prepared to see failure and struggle. These are not pristine, tightly managed school performances. Our exhibitions are meant to display the grueling process of learning rather than a polished end product. In addition to letting the Eagles shine, they also let them experience the real-world consequence of not giving one’s best to a project if that’s the case. (The latter may be the most important learning of all.)”

So on exhibition day, I found myself among the parents, with my “mom hat” securely in place. I stood back and watched heroes run the show. With humor and grace, with lost scripts and nervous energy, they hosted a truly authentic exhibition of learning. I received one question, which I deflected back to our heroes. They executed each part with a pride and joy that could only be derived from their ownership over the entire experience. As I watched these young heroes leap off the stage following an enthusiastic rendition of The Greatest Showman’s “Come Alive”, I sat with the quiet understanding of all that I had learned from these young people over these past several weeks, a newfound appreciation of the element of surprise, and a sense of gratitude to be a part of a community that would remain committed to measuring what matters.

(Repost from October 6, 2018)

You Can’t Always Get What You Want

By Lauren Quinn, Co-Founder & Head of School

Yesterday, we hosted our first Children’s Business Fair, a one-day market for children, ages 6-14, to showcase their very own business. In our own learning community, this was the final exhibition of learning after a four-week Entrepreneurship Quest, where our young learners dreamed up, planned, and created their own businesses to share with the world- and hopefully, make some profit to boot. All session, the heroes eagerly anticipated the day of the fair, where they would have the chance to showcase all of their hard work.

As a school that emphasizes personal agency and autonomy, we stressed the importance of allowing each hero to make decisions about their business, and to do as much of the work on their own as possible. As parents and guides, we watched from the sidelines, supporting by listening and asking good questions to help shape their ideas. Often times, this meant having front row seats to the various struggles our young learners encountered- from creating their first business plans, calculating variable costs, hashing out a marketing plan and pitch to potential customers, to managing the ins and outs of a month-long project with a looming deadline. Wanting everyone to succeed, we resisted the urge to step in and provide easy answers. We reminded ourselves of the learning born from struggle. We tried to remain Socratic, even when the math was REALLY hard. We provided a lot of encouragement, growth mindset praise and inspiring stories of perseverance and grit to get over some of their hurdles.

Little did we know, one of our biggest obstacles would occur on the day of the Business Fair when we woke up to bitter temperatures and 30 mph wind gusts- less than ideal conditions for open tables of merchandise and ample foot traffic. A few flying canopies resulted in an immediate break down of the tents and banners. Sign-in sheets, brochures, and any other items vulnerable to the long and frequent wind gusts were tucked away.

Of course, for any passionate and dedicated entrepreneur, the show must go on. This is “where the road meets the rubber,” as they say- and so, our heroes set up their tables, our wonderful parent volunteers jumped in to help, and our mentor judges visited each young entrepreneur, giving individual praise and feedback. Customers came and sales were made. The hot chocolate booth, run by our youngest heroes, was a huge success. Our budding entrepreneurs enthusiastically supported each other, finding the most joy in visiting their friends and seeing the products of weeks of dreaming, planning and collaboration.

We all may have wanted clear skies and pleasantly crisp fall weather- perfect for strolling and window shopping. We wanted the tents and displays and visual appeal to look as we had intended. We likely wanted our young learners to see the fruits of their efforts through some hard-earned profits. Naturally, we wanted their risks to pay off and their landings to be soft.

Yet, this isn’t really the way the world works and our heroes learned perhaps one of the most important lessons in business and in life- that things don’t always go the way you want. There will always be things, like the weather, that you can’t control. Ultimately, what we really want for our young learners is an entrepreneurial mindset: resilience, adaptability, and grit- character traits born from struggle, from unplanned events and bumpy landings.

These are the skills they will need to launch into the world as successful adults. These are the skills our heroes displayed in spades yesterday, adding a new story of perseverance and grit to our own growing collection as a community.

In reflecting on yesterday’s events, I can’t help but glean some wisdom from The Rolling Stones. As they say, “You can’t always get what you want- But if you try sometimes, you might find, you get what you need.”

(Repost from November 11, 2018)