Laura Sandefer

November 14, 2018

Imagine this:

A group of teenagers walking into school early to hang out together. Hear the noise arising from the group: it’s loud. So much talking and laughing. Quite the opposite of the grating silence of humans staring at their phones. Now, picture the clock on the wall. It says “8:29” in red lights. As the teenagers glance up at it, they move together toward a circle of black chairs on the other side of the room. At the strike of 8:30, all are seated and the noise drizzles into a stream of quiet.  One teenager takes the lead and asks everyone to write down what they are grateful for on the slips of paper he put out on their chairs. He then asks them to share their personal list.  There is no adult giving instructions or even sitting in the circle. These teenagers are alone in their own world. Creating their own place and space – choosing to center themselves in gratitude before their day of intense work.

An impossible vision of what school can be?

Not at all.

This is what I just witnessed in our Launchpad less than an hour ago. They didn’t know I was watching. I was a distant fly on the wall replying to emails.

As we move into the week when it’s popular and expected to focus on being grateful, our Eagles are living it out every week – without a dressed turkey to trigger an emotion.

This is authentic centeredness and it is at the core of the Acton Launchpad experience.

I am moved to be more like these Eagles. Center first. Then get to work. And don’t forget the laughter.

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Middle School is where young people rapidly start owning their education. Middle school is the perfect time to develop intellect and character while gaining a deeper sense of self and the real world. Students have a broad palette of topics to study and pair in-depth academic exploration with real-world connections to experts and local apprenticeships. Middle School is about deepening a passion for individual subjects while broadening your understanding of yourself and your future.