By Laura Sandefer, co-founder Acton Academy
Let’s pluck this age-old question from the philosophical realms and plant it
smack dab in the nitty gritty of life: school. This may take some imagination to get going.
Imagine you were born with a unique gift - a latent talent awaiting discovery.
This gift, if carefully honed with perseverance and grit, will change the world for good and bring you great joy.
Now, imagine a world where each human embraces this mystery and is on a mission to discover,
master and use his or her gift to solve a burning need in the world.
Sit with this vision for a while and something transformational may happen.
Hope may just arise and stick.
This exercise in imagination was an actual conversation between my husband and me. The hope that arose sparked a question: What would happen if the purpose of school, of “getting” an education, was so individuals could find their own particular gift, master it and change the world? This question evolved into an idea and called the idea, “Acton Academy – a tight-knit community of lifelong learners.”
Acton Academy, now in its 6th year with 8 campuses, starts with the belief that “each child is a genius and can change the world.” The narrative of the Hero’s Journey is the framework upon which the gritty work of lifelong learning begins: each child, on a mission to discover and hone her gifts while walking with fellow travelers, guides and mentors to face challenges, battle “monsters” and reach great heights of achievement. Finding a calling is the end goal – the treasure at the end of this journey.
The question, “why am I here” drives this creative, sometimes messy, always intensive experience of learning with a deep, driving purpose.
As one of our young heroes at Acton recently told us, “You don’t have to be an astronaut to change the world. You just have to be the person you were meant to be.” Imagine that.