By Eric Rounds, Director of Service & Environmental Learning
This year we initiated a new program for 11th grade, called Junior Days. As I made the first few calls to alumni, parents, and other Santa Fe businesses, I was nervous about whether people would have the time to work with us. To my amazement, almost everybody jumped at the chance. The discussions quickly moved to how to structure the day and what they wanted to share.
On February 1st and 15th, juniors left the classroom and immersed themselves in some real-world learning opportunities off campus. Developed from a survey of student interest, these workshops were intended to engage the juniors’ heads, hearts, and hands in ways that are sometimes be overlooked in the focus on preparing for college. Juniors had a chance to see how various successful artists, craftspeople, business owners, and spiritual leaders have crafted careers out of their passions, experience and education, and tried their hands at some of these professions as well. A number of Prep alumni and current parents lent their talents to this enterprise as well.
Our hope is that our students got some answers to that perennial junior question, “Why am having to work so hard?” and began thinking about how they can put their education to the service of their own passions.
For my part, watching the students struggling with their first experience with meditation at Mountain Cloud Zen Center and then seeing kids pounding fiercely on red-hot pieces of metal with a sledge hammer at a blacksmithing workshop, was enormously gratifying. It was also great to hear the stories from the other students of their hustling through the lunch rush at Tomasita’s or listening to the recording that the musical production group created.
A very BIG THANKS to all of the Prep parents, friends, and alumni who helped make this happen!