Today was the last day of school for the 2012/2013 school year! Tonight we congratulate a new class of Opal Graduates as they head into the wide world.
Also today, I read a recent interview with a 16 year-old Opal graduate who responded to this question: What did you take with you from your Opal School experience that inspires, influences and supports you today? with this: A passion for learning through experience. If I get really interested in a topic, I will pursue it and take the time to get to it deeply, rather than just doing mediocre work on it. I've also taken away how to be patient if I'm not interested in a topic. To find a way to connect it to something else in my brain that interests me by using metaphors to find something that really resonates with me.
It is heartening to hear this as we say good-bye to our oldest current students. We know they are well equipped to sustain the things they've learned, and to bring new possibilities to their communities.
Our youngest children look forward to returning after a few weeks of time away. They ended this part of their Opal chapter considering such questions as: What are some Do's and Don'ts of caretaking? And they responded by creating a book (inspired by Tod Parr) with advice such as:
Don't take everything that doesn't belong to you
Do listen when someone is talking to you
And such questions as: How does beautiful help a community? With dialogue such as this:
Cole: It helps the community be happy. It makes people be happy.
Chloe: There wouldn't be a community if there wasn't anything beautiful. Because I think that we're beautiful and if there was nothing beautiful there would be nothing because beautiful makes a community happy like Cole said.
Zehren: It inspires people who look at it. So it helps them make stories.
Sophia S: It helps support people to have joy so they want to be nice to each other.
Emmett: Beautiful helps you do stuff like you want to be together so you'll stay more inspired and want to do stuff together and won't get mad at each other.
Pritam: Beautiful can help people enjoy life. If they see beautiful they can feel like they're having more fun.
Sophia S: And then the fun would spread to the community.
Sophia M: I think beautiful is like a flower that blooms like love that comes from the flower in all different ways.
Aoife: If nothing was beautiful everyone would be really sad and no one would be happy.
Violet: It makes a community grow and more people would want to be in it.
Maliya: Something beautiful makes people feel welcome. If you're in a place that's beautiful you feel cared for.
We'll spend a few more years with these wise friends. And, like the song goes that our graduates will sing tonight, we all will be "changed for good."
And if you were wondering what to read this summer, here's a list of recommendations from the graduates. As Eliza said, "A summer read for me is a book that's so good you should read it in the summer when you have enough time!" We agree! Enjoy!
Una / Hailey – The Land of Stories, The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer
Nomi – The Incorrigible Children Series by Maryrose Wood (and book 4 is coming out in October!)
Sidney – Evangeline Mudd, both books and Roscoe Wizzle by David Elliott
Kaia / Adaline / Piper – The Secret Tree by Natalie Standiford
Una – The Magic Half by Annie Barrows
River – Eragon, Eldest, Brisingr, Inheritance (four book series) by Christopher Paolini
Senan / Jackson – Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney
Senan – Cherub Series by Robert Muchamore
Ezra / Senan – Janitors Series by Tyler Whitesides
Ben – Spy School or anything but Stuart Gibbs
Wrigley – The Mysterious Matter of I.M. Fine by Diane Stanley
Riley – Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage
Ezra – The Apothecary by Maile Malloy
The Last Musketeer by Stuart Gibbs
Swindle, Zoobreak, Framed, Showoff, Hideout by Gordon Korman
The Edge Chronicles by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell
39 Clues Series
Levia – The One and Only Ivan by K. A. Applegate and everyone should finish Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson and read Forge, book 2!
Kaia – Dragons Milk by Susan Fletcher
Warriors Series by Erin Hunter
Sisters Grimm by Michael Buckley
A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz
Sammy Keyes by Wendelin Van Draanen
Harry Potter series by JK Rowling
Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan
Demigod Diaries by Rick Riordan
Emerald Atlas by John Stephens
Jade – The Girl who Circumnavigated Fairyland by Catherynne Valente
The Billionaire Series by Richard Newsome
Bites & Bones by Lois Metzger
Amelia – The Two Princesses of Barmare by Gail Carson Levine
Eliza – Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Amulet by Kazu Kibuishi
Middle School Series by James Patterson
Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan
Kane Chronicles Series by Rick Riordan