Learning Edge… Students are challenged to find and dance along their learning edge as part of the CAP class at New Vista High School. It’s that moment when you get butterflies in your stomach, and then, when you finally accomplish the task, you feel a great sense of accomplishment. It may be preparing for the oral final exam, it may be taking a leadership role for the first time with our environmental action project, or it may be telling a story about your crucible moment around a campfire at 8,100 feet.
To be fair, it wasn’t really a campfire. There was a fire ban, so we improvised—a creatively arranged pile of sticks around a red tinted lantern. While the fire may not have been real, the honesty and vulnerability were as genuine as you can get.
A crucible moment is defined as a challenge that the experience of going through changes your perspective or changes you as a person. It’s a defining moment where you come out of the fire like a phoenix.
The theme of the New Vista group’s campfire circle on their first overnight was storytelling. They were about to embark on their action project the following week, so to cement the trust and connection of our team, students told stories to reveal deeper parts of themselves than normally happen during an average high school day. Getting out of the familiarity of the classroom into the serenity of Cal-Wood and the Solitude campsite gave the students both the acuity and the sanctuary to be their most authentic selves. The paradox of being in nature – being on high alert while at the same time feeling soothed – can bring that out in people.
First, students shared a story about their name. They revealed both the strength and the anxiety that their names have produced throughout their lives—mispronunciations, connections to ancestors, and relating to the people who gifted them their names.
Then they were asked to share a story about a crucible moment. To a person, each student shared a moment where they grew and expanded their worldview. It wasn’t easy. It meant letting go of the walls we build to protect ourselves and the images we portray to the world. It meant taking on a new kind of confidence, one where you value being real over being right. Our whole selves vs. our produced selves.
Society places so much value on looking the part – fake it ‘til you make it. If you look good you’ll feel good. And there is a time and place for that. But if we want to solve the very real problems facing our world today, we are going to have to shed the facades we have built and get a little messy. We are going to have to trust one another at unprecedented levels, and we are going to have to trust ourselves.
The CAP fall 2019 students at New Vista High School are well on their way.
Written by New Vista CAP Instructor Amy Atkins
See more photos from the trip here!