I used to hate school; everything except the social aspect. If my mom ever got a call from school when I was growing up, it was because I couldn’t stop talking and was distracting other students from learning (unless it was a call from the nurses office – I was always “sick”). I didn’t understand the inherent value in education and in what I was doing. Math was stupid, science was boring and English was an excuse to give us hand cramps by writing more than any fifth grader should. My whole life, I was an average student. I made B’s and C’s, with the occasional A. I didn’t care. I went to school because I had to and I socialized because I wanted to. It’s just how it always was. I never saw the need to change until I started to discover what I actually enjoyed doing in school. Being held to a certain standard by the educational system kept me from ever desiring to really be taught.
Little did I know that education goes far beyond the basic five subjects every student must accomplish to move forward.
When I was a freshman in high school, I discovered my deep love for history. Learning it, researching it and teaching it. My teacher gave us hands on ways of expressing what we learned that went beyond the conventional textbook reading. This was one of the first moments I discovered I had a future desire to educate.
Fast forward to my junior year of high school, where I spent time expressing myself in Mr. Browning’s class where I was introduced to the beauty of creative writing. From poetry, to haiku’s, to story telling to expressive literature. I learned English in a way that wasn’t just to give me hand cramps, but to take what was going on inside my head and to express it through different writing styles. This is where a shift in my heart took place. I discovered so much more than a love for writing in that semester, but Jesus exposed more of who He wanted me to be by just exercising an art form that I didn’t know existed.
Senior year, I understand how my passion for theater and acting could help enhance my education through Advanced Drama with Mrs. Burick. I understood the importance of acting that far surpassed a desire to perform. It was humbling to combine my love for theater and my desire to be educated based on one’s passions and talents. I finally understand that education, the gift of education, goes well beyond the basic system. Albert Einstein said it best himself, “Everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by it’s ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
Skip ahead five years: I have now finished college (with a degree in education, might I add) and academically accomplished much more than I ever thought I possibly could. I owe so much to the teachers and professors who pushed me to go beyond the academic mold and follow passions and desires. In college, I had teachers yank desires out of the deepest parts of my heart through missions and ministry to discover what I was made to do. I now find myself in the place of doing exactly that. I was made to educate. I was called to not only show students the importance of education, but to change the way future generations are educated. I now see the inherent value in education and the importance in changing a generation through it. More importantly though, I know the worth in using student’s passions to educate them in a way that not only highlights their strengths, but pushes them to follow where they thrive.
So now, here I am, in Haiti, helping to direct a fine arts after school program. This will be one of the first in Haiti and our dream is that it won’t be the last. Not only are we passionate about equal access to education for all, but we are even more passionate about educating students through their strengths and their desires. We want to see their dreams come to life, whether it be an upcoming Haitian actress on HBO or a modern day Picasso who starts an art academy in their community, or a seamstress for the New York City Ballet… whatever their dreams are, we want to discover it and pull it out of them. We want to help them to discover what Jesus created them to do. This can happen through education.
Will you join us?