I ran into an old friend the other day. She regaled me with how her little boy, a former student, who is now 25, is enjoying a very successful career as a model. He was the beautiful little 3-year-old who was interested in everything, seemed to learn to read by osmosis, always knew something amazing about every subject we studied and he was the one who, when it was time to come in from playing one day, looked at the mountains, sized up his journey and told me matter-of-factly he was going home. He pulled his jacket around his little shoulders and set out in exactly the right direction. He probably would have made it by about sundown. He now has a degree in business, but is enjoying being on top of the world at the moment. We laughed and shook our heads, never would have guessed it. His brother is almost done with college and loves to play the sax. He’s always seemed like the business-type of the two but I won’t be too surprised if he finds a way to support himself as a musician. Before we parted she said, “I credit you and Bruce and your school with keeping that light in my children’s eyes.” That light, I didn’t know she saw it too.
I ran into another friend a couple of weeks ago; one of his boys is finishing up his college degree, loves math and credits us with his success. His brother is touring the world as a champion skier, making those crazy ski movies and also enjoying being on top of the world. He was the boy who was always looking for a limit to push and I’m so glad to hear he still is. I haven’t seen him in years but I Googled him and hundreds of photos popped up. The light is still aflame in his eyes.
Another former student recently purchased a home here so she and her husband can live here in the winters and in their Chicago home in the summers. The kid’s only 26 and she has two homes. She was the little girl who loved to create designs with the insets and colored pencils while always amidst a group of friends. She found a career in fashion and continues to enjoy a very social lifestyle and the light is still aglow in her eyes.
A former student dropped by the school the other day to tell us he’s back from Nepal and going to Germany before he starts college where he wants to study theology. I told him he’s doing just what we want our students to do, go out into the world and think about things. He’s still got that light, too.
Another student, my son, recently won the US Army Best Warrior competition for Utah and the surrounding states. He went on to the western competition and came in second. I asked if he was disappointed and he said, “It’s a good placement and it takes the heat off; now I don’t have to train for nationals.” He’s got quite a few other projects going on at present. He was the little boy who loved everything there was to do in school and took each lesson to the max. He is interested in Entrepreneurship so I suspect this may always be the case. The light is still burning brightly in his eyes.
As I’ve watched so many of our students go out into the world, I notice many times they do exactly what I pictured them doing when they were three. People think that because Montessori students learn academics at a precocious age they will continue to excel academically. And they’re right; our students graduate with a zeal for learning that doesn’t seem to wane. They don’t seem to go out into the world and find the easiest or highest paying jobs. They are much more likely to do what interests them most, look for a challenge and find a way to contribute. They are intrinsically motivated. And the light burns brightly in their eyes.
Duna Strachan, AMS
Soaring Wings International Montessori School
Park City, Utah USA