When I think about the countless goals we have for our students—while they are here on campus and as graduates—it can be daunting to consider how all the work will fit into a day, a week or even a year. Our objective is that they experience it all. Our students are pushed in the classroom to broaden their thinking, awareness, and skillset. They are challenged in athletics to understand their physical capabilities and the importance of team dynamics. We want them to experience visual and performing arts to awaken their creativity and comfort in front of an audience. And above all, we want them to be exemplary citizens that are responsible and respectful, and who find great joy in building relationships with others and working together to enhance the experience of being a New Hampton School Husky.
Laying the groundwork
As we enter our second month of classes and a healthy rhythm is established, there are myriad examples of students striving to achieve their goals. Our younger students are beginning a process that takes time and energy, honing in on the daily and weekly steps essential to meaningful long-term progress. At the same time, our older students are demonstrating the results of multiple years of dedicated effort at New Hampton, drawing on both success and failure as they navigate the critical years of adolescence that provide the framework for who they will be as young adults.
Finding a platform
If we boil down the journey of high school to one critical outcome, the attainment of an overarching goal, it is for each of our students to find their voice. That they have processed the formal and informal curriculum of our community to develop an awareness and position on the things that matter most to them and develop the vehicles through which they communicate their beliefs. For some, the comfortable vehicle for communication is the lectern at school meeting. For others, it might be a gathering in the residence hall, a team meeting, or some other public venue. And more may find that it is a clean canvas in an art studio, the music room, or the structure of a class discussion or a writing assignment that allows for revision, reflection, and more revision.
The examples are countless and varied. Last week, students volunteered to share their story during an evening program we call “Voices of New Hampton” where a theme is suggested, and students volunteer to share their individual story, as it relates to that theme, during an all-school meeting. On Friday, a group of students passionate about the natural world signed up to attend the global climate change strike with science faculty Russ Brummer. And, as a different type of example, Eileen and I hosted our first Senior Supper at our house with ten students in the graduating class. The informal conversation, range of topics, and the presence of different opinions was a testament to the work we do over each student’s tenure to aid them in finding their voice.
Active global citizens
It is our hope that by the close of their journey at New Hampton, each and every one of our graduates find their voice and are comfortable using it. That they can look a stranger in the eye and hold a meaningful conversation on any topic that arises because they have developed the confidence and skill set to act on their feet and engage in the world around them in meaningful ways. After all, our mission is to cultivate active global citizens, which can’t happen until our students find their voice.