Sage School: Be Interesting

One of the joys of this time of year is the trickling of Alumni through the Sage School doors. They come singly or they come in small groups. They come unannounced or they request permission to join the senior circle. Either way, they return and bring us ‘stories from the field’- what life is like on the ‘other side.’ This past week, we had our first official Alumni Event- 12 students that graduated during the past 3 years were welcomed back onto campus for lunch with the teachers, a shared wellness, and a presentation to our 10th/11th/12th grade students. Between this event and the folks who have trickled in, we have been visited or reconnected with nearly 50% of Sage School Alum- an impressive rate (even if the total number of contacts- in the low 20’s- isn’t quite as impressive as the rate implies).

One thread that emerged from this is what they have learned about themselves: “Sage School kids are just interesting.” Our alum, as they go to college and beyond, find that the people they meet are intrigued, if not mystified, by the depth and range of experiences they have had as students. People ask them many, many questions about their experiences- You went to a slaughterhouse as part of a class? You went to Ecuador? What’s a fish hatchery? How many kids were in your class? You designed a trimester long curriculum on whatever you wanted and spoke about it to an auditorium of people? How? You learned to sail? The questions just keep coming.

Not only do they get barraged with questions, but they also realize that they have the capacity to speak intelligently and with intrigue about all of these topics. The emotions come pouring out, and the audience is enthralled. These kids have been speaking to a wide range of audiences- from younger kids to random adults in their community- for years, so they have long learned that “age is not a barrier to develop relationships.”

This is not only amazing for gaining and keeping friends, it is also tremendously helpful for getting jobs and internships. Another alum was recently asked to put together his resume, and at first was mystified. Then, he realized, that if he simply put together a list of all the experiences he had at Sage, he was ready and able to demonstrate a wide skill set and a wide range of abilities to serve many an employer.

The alumni further tell us that they have come to realize it may not be any single course at Sage that makes them ‘interesting’ (although that is part of it), but it is how they have learned. They have learned to make connections and to seek connections between ideas and people. They have learned to construct community, practiced doing so, and learned the language and skills to do so effectively. They now demand this of their own education and their own communities. Interesting, indeed.

Interesting they are. Proud of them, we are. Thrilled, we couldn’t be more. Thanks to all of you- current and former families- for taking this journey on. The results are coming in, and they are nothing if not interesting.

Chris McAvoy