EIleen Wolpert

 

What an amazing Spring Show! The scenery was spectacular; the costumes were fantastic; the singing and dancing were outstanding. But for me, it was 8th graders who were so truly impressive. Seeing how far they have come is always so uplifting. It actually made me fill up when I saw them on the stage on Thursday because I can clearly picture them as little kids. I think we all have a sense of pride as we see the young men and women they have become. The really great thing about the show is that it is one of those activities that concretely demonstrates the RICE Process for the students. They learn how important it is that they share responsibility, whether it is for their class number or a lead. If one member does not take their part seriously, it affects the rest. This realization shows them the value of working interdependently. No one person can pull off a product like the show. It also empowers them to let their creativity shine. And boy did it shine!

 

 

This moment is really the beginning of the end of the 8th graders’ journey here at Ancillae. As any experience comes to a close, we look back and think about what made the journey unique. I often talk to prospective parents about what differentiates Ancillae. Certainly, our academics, fine arts, STEM, and athletics differentiate us, but it is the intangible of who we are as a community that makes us different and that has helped to form the young men and women who will graduate in one month’s time.

 

It is the philosophy of educating the whole child that fosters students who feel loved, safe, connected, and engaged and are then prepared to enter a global society as a critically thinking, dynamic citizen. We know that educating the whole child means moving beyond traditional notions of curriculum. As I was thinking about our 8th graders after the show, pondering what brought them to this stage in their life (no pun intended), I considered what has been the hallmark of their journey. I think Sister Elizabeth McCoy, our school’s first Director, summed it up best when she said, "What makes the difference? What is the hidden ingredient? One big difference is our perception of curriculum. We perceive curriculum to be all the experiences that are planned, guided, and had in any way in the school by the students. This view of curriculum is broader than looking at curriculum as only the course of studies. This view is comprehensive and includes content courses and all other exchanges of life that go on in a school every day.

 

For example, reading is a course of studies...Learning to love to read from an enthusiastic teacher is an exchange of life. In social studies, learning that cultures are different from one another is content...Learning to live with and love people who are different is an exchange of life. In religion, learning that God loves everyone is always content...Learning that my teacher forgives and corrects me when I am rude is an exchange of life that helps me believe that I am lovable. Learning that there are parts of our world that are hungry and mistreated is course content...Living with a concerned and involved community that extends itself in sharing and caring for the less fortunate is an exchange of life. We believe this broader perception of the curriculum brings us to the heart of Christian education that is loving by authentic human exchange with each other and growing as individuals and as a corporate person in Christ. We at Ancillae-Assumpta Academy are inspired by the spirit of God to adopt this comprehensive view of curriculum."

 

The Key Takeaway

That explains it; the exchanges of life differentiate us. Those exchanges focus on the whole child, and that is what has helped to form our 8th graders into the R.I.C.E. filled individuals who will journey beyond these stone walls in just a month’s time. The Spring Show marks a passage for us. It is one of those hidden ingredients – an exchange of life - that makes our graduates, ready for their future with a positive outlook and can-do attitude. In the words of Don Lockwood, "Come on with your rain, I've got a smile on my face! I'll walk down the lane. With a happy refrain, Just singin', singin' in the rain!"  As we enter into life exchanges on a daily basis at Ancillae, let’s do so with intentionality, knowing that each exchange makes a difference.

 

 

About the Author

Eileen Wolpert
Assistant Principal
ewolpert@ancillae.org

Music Educator
32 years serving Ancillae-Assumpta Academy

 

Photography by Marie Boyden

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