RA Class of 2018 - Shaping our Future

RA Class of 2018 - Shaping our Future
Posted on 10/03/2017
Featured: RA Seniors attending an American Cancer Society event

Below is an editorial from Senior Project Coordinator, Claire Powers which summarizes her reflections on the senior projects from the RA Class of 2018.

As we move through the highs and lows of life, we are asked to understand the circumstances and relate to those who are different than ourselves. The Renaissance Academy students in the Class of 2018 were challenged to use their life experiences, talents and future aspirations to reach out to the community and bring about understanding and influence the greater community in a positive way.

They met that challenge with a real team effort. On Friday, September 29th, they presented their senior project experiences to the staff at Renaissance  Academy and inspired the school through their efforts.

Some students prepared for their future by investigating a career field of work such as fashion design or nursing and other students used this experience to bring attention to the value of music and the arts. While students helped our aging neighbors at local senior centers, others reached out to the younger generation in the hopes to inspire perseverance and dedication to education. Some students tried to have an impact on literacy, homelessness, poverty, hunger, forced migration, animal abuse, mental health, and cancer recovery/outreach. These big issues were met with small but consistent efforts to attempt to understand the circumstances of another community member. The lessons came from unassuming people who they met along the way that shared with our students the trials of living without resources to sustain a reasonable quality of life. These interactions will help to shape our future leaders and the decision that they will make to impact the greater community.

What was most insightful in the student's’ work was their ability to take a personal trial or life experience and move through the devastation of that personal tragedy to share that experience with someone who may be presently struggling. For example, we were inspired by students who have been exposed to dating violence volunteering at the Women’s Center of Montgomery County or students personally affected by poverty choosing to volunteer at the Coordinated Homeless Outreach Center. Some students shared with us their personal trials with mental health issues only to be empowered by attending Mental Health First Aid classes, prepared to be the first line of defense to make sure their peers get the help that they need. Students used life experiences that were so real that only someone who has lived through the crisis could understand and help those who are presently in the midst of a similar crisis. Subjects such as bullying, anxiety, financial burdens, and educational struggles were all discussed during the students’ reflections leading us to believe that there is wisdom in the struggle. Students have learned not only to overcome their own trials but more importantly have learned to understand and respond to the circumstances of others.

Upon greater reflection, the manner in which this group of students supported each other was impressive. As one student struggled with due dates, a classmate would reach out and help them finish strong. In the end, the process of completing these senior projects was the real achievement. In fact, during the journey, they were called upon to be leaders and followers, spokesperson and labors, healers and healing, coaches and teammates, teachers and students, cultivators and protectors, and bottom-line... the voice of a better tomorrow.

-Claire Powers, Senior Project Coordinator
Renaissance Academy Charter School