Willy Wonka’s welcome embodies my spirit of adventure and hope in reimagining education at Renaissance Secondary School. “I shake you warmly by the hand! Tremendous things are in store for you! Wonderful surprises await you!” I am RSS’ Communication Guide, and I couldn’t be more excited to join the RSS crew and community.
What a beautiful world we live in… being outside running, hiking, kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding, road and mountain biking, sledding, baseball, playing keep it alive with a beach ball… wonderful. I believe one’s perspective on life is best realized outdoors. And in books, because “of course it is happening inside your head, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”-Albus Dumbledore.
I grew up in beautiful British Columbia, Canada, and attended Trinity Western University (TWU) for Psychology and Linguistics. During my four years at TWU I had a life-changing experience of being a Camp Counselor on Vancouver Island. At this point I knew I loved working with kids, being outside, and learning about communication. So, household items and two cats were loaded into a U-Haul for the long trip to Arizona to pursue a Masters in Communication Disorders at ASU. My favorite makerspace moment – fashioning a hammock for a sensory overloaded cat who was stalking back and forth across the dashboard and meowing incessantly. Even the most stoic highway drivers zipping by did a slightly bemused double take at the sight of a cat swaying happily back and forth from the rear view mirror in a hoodie hammock. After working in Arizona for a year, I moved out to Colorado where I have worked for eight years at Cresthill Middle School as a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) and a Learning Specialist.
My son, Ryder, completed Kindergarten this year, and I’m super proud of him. He’s a bonafide magpie, with his current specialities being small shiny things, rocks, and pocketfuls of “treasures” from his playground. When I came across this anonymous quote, it captured so well the heart of what I want to instill in Ryder, and how I work with students. “Don’t become preoccupied with your child’s academic ability, but instead teach them to sit with those sitting alone. Teach them to be kind. Teach them to offer help. Teach them to be a friend to the lonely. Teach them to think about other people. Teach them to share. Teach them to look for the good. This is how they will change the world.” I’ve seen students grow into great readers, writers, thinkers, and communicators, not because they were so focused on improving their academic scores, but because they were so busy becoming solution finders, on making a difference in other people’s lives, and in determining what matters in their worlds, that they developed these skills they needed to do those things.
And so… let our adventure begin!