Last week, SJA received a commitment from the Freeman Foundation to fund this year's Academy trip to Japan, which includes stops in Tokyo, Nagasaki, and Kyoto. This program, begun in 1994, has allowed over 100 SJA Japanese language students and dozens of faculty members to visit Japan each spring.
In Chapel early this week, I spoke on the importance of rededicating ourselves to living out Rachel's Challenge—Rachel Scott's five challenges to which we committed ourselves at the start of this year:
1. Look for the good in others and see past the surface
2. Set high goals and dream big
3. Surround yourself with positive influences
4. Speak and act with kindness in order to heal and not hurt
5. Start a chain reaction of kindness and compassion
I added to those challenges two thoughts from Deepak Chopra, reflecting on how we can bring peace to our lives and our world during this holiday season:
1. Be at peace, relinquishing all resentments and realizing how much you are loved
2. Share your peace, working with others to create a more peaceful world
On Friday, December 5, Capstone Day 2014, I wore my Constellation Tie. A gift from my daughter, it depicts the various constellations in a somewhat random pattern. I told the students that I wore the tie for two reasons. First, I wanted to see if any Capstone student thought the lines on my tie spelled out a hidden message (something like, "you are going to fail"); if so, they needed help. Second, I wanted to let them know that on Capstone Day, perhaps more than any other day, I feel as if I am standing among a constellation of stars. I told them, "When we gather again on Monday, I am confident I will be able to say my tie was not the only thing full of stars on Capstone Day—because of your efforts, I will be able to truthfully say this whole campus was filled with stars." My confidence, it turns out, was well founded.
St. Johnsbury Academy's Faculty Speaker Series concludes for the semester on Monday, December 8, at 7:00 p.m. at the Library in the Mayo Center. SJA Creative Director Diego Melendez will talk about "The Idea Behind the Idea," exploring the creative industry, design thinking, and strategies pioneered by successful companies like Apple and Nike. The series, created by Assistant Headmaster for Academics Jeffrey Burroughs, showcases the extraordinary talents, interests, and expertise of the St. Johnsbury Academy faculty and staff.