Last week, a group of surf-obsessed students from Grauer School travelled to the Bocas Del Toro section of Panama, on the Caribbean, to engage with school partners at a global non-profit called Give & Surf. Our motto was more like “Surf & Give & Surf Again.”
Between all the surfing and giving, we had unforgettable cultural and service engagements with many children both from Afro-Carribean families and the Ngobe tribe, as well as travel far off the grid, in bat caves, kayaks, pangas and puddle jumpers.
But most important, this diverse group of students became a unified team, which is the main point of a great expedition. Our group realized that we all needed to look after one another and after our environment. In fact, our guides called us, “The most mature, kindest, best mannered and helpful group we have ever seen.” The sum and takeaway of all this is worthy of not just an expedition or a college prep course of study. The real impact of a great journey can be expressed in a single word: transformation.
Transformation is both the means and the outcome of great education everywhere and the gathering of courage and tribal connectedness. The knowing smiles in these students, before and after, somehow illustrate that transformation. Hence, my column this week consists of just two photographs that I hope you will study.
Transformational education goes beyond preparing students with testable or even essential information—in fact, it does all that, but it also raises the level of moral aspirations of all students and teachers, together. Please enjoy these two group photos. Look at the eager and positive faces “before,” and the transformed and amazed faces “after.” Together they express what is achievable in transformational education.
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