“How did they get the whole ocean in there??”
From the very early days of Escuela, Fr. Tom Prag, SJ, and Sr. Susan Swain, SL, focused our program on “asset-based education”. Not only did they value the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that our excellent teachers were going to pass on to the children, they were convinced that the children, and the community from which they came, brought with them a whole host of assets that could also enrich us - our school, community, and country.
Some antiquated models of education portray the children as empty vessels, the teachers as water pitchers, from which they would pour their expert knowledge into the passive and impoverished students. At Escuela, we are awe-inspired by the curiosity, knowledge, experience, joy, culture, and talents with which each of our students are endowed, and the treasure trove they bring to our community!
Have you ever seen the eyes of a three year old when they put a sea shell up to their ear after being told, “Listen. You can hear the ocean!” Eyes grown wide and round with awe, they pull the shell away from their ear and peer inside, seeming to ask, “How did they get the whole ocean in there??”
Just so, if we listen with our heart, “out of the mouths of babes” will come a treasure trove of truth, beauty, and goodness that is theirs by virtue of being formed in their mother’s womb in the very image and likeness of God. With each student that walks into our classrooms and into our lives, walks a unique and beautiful slice of Heaven. As St. Ignatius said: "those who carry God in their hearts bear heaven with them wherever they go".
From its inception, Escuela has highly valued the assets our students bring to our school and the multicultural community from which they come. Even now, as we continue our ambitious expansion from being a K-5 school to a full-fledged PK-8, we are keenly aware of the treasure that each of our new students bring. At the beginning of this new 2017-2018 school year, it is my privilege to report that Escuela has a record enrollment of 194 students! This represents a 54% increase in enrollment since we moved to our new building just two years ago. With grateful hope-filled hearts, we ask for your prayers and support for continued success as we have added 7th grade for the first time.
I will leave you with a quote from one of our new students. On her 6th grade retreat in the mountains, I asked one of our new students what she had learned the day before (besides how to toboggan on a mountain!). She said that she learned that she has talents inside of her and that they just need to be discovered and grown. “Out of the mouths of babes”, indeed!
If you listen carefully, you can hear an ocean of goodness in the voices of our budding leaders here at Escuela! Come and see! Come and listen. Come and be blessed!