On the Road to Find Out

March 3, 2013

Last night, Sophomore Four Point began.  Kasmira won the Rock, Paper, Scissors Tournament and everyone enjoyed the film. This morning, before the sophomores were scheduled for brunch, I slipped over to the field house for some exercise. From the vantage point of the treadmill, I was able to watch the juniors gather, split into groups and prepare to head out into the woods.  The whole process was fascinating, particularly because this year, my son, Alec, is a junior.  I know this is a blog for the Sophomore Four Point, and I really shouldn’t be talking about juniors, but I have a thought I want to share.

Our students are so lucky to have a program like Four Point.  The opportunities and experiences that they are exposed to are truly amazing.  As a faculty member, I know that each year of the points has been carefully designed to meet the developmental needs of the grade. The first year students travel to places that help them experience just how big the world is as they come to terms with that through their studies.  Tenth graders, who often think they know everything, are pushed to reflect on who they are and determine what it means to be an invested member of multiple communities.  Juniors discover that they are more self-reliant and resilient than they ever imagined just before they head into the college process and senior year.  Twelfth graders and PG’s independently develop their own projects, which vary in style and type.  These projects are the last step in this four year process that helps shape the identities of our students.  (Please note that this is the short version of why we do what we do.  There is significantly more that I am leaving out in the interest of brevity.)

My son Alec, who just turned seventeen, moved to Bethel and has been a part of the Gould community since he was eighteen months old.  His Four Point transformation began when he was fourteen.  After his trip to China as a ninth grader, he has been eager to travel.  He worked hard all summer to make money for his adventure in Spain with Mr. Alford later this month.  As a sophomore, he learned that he may not be a talented painter, but he sure can weld like a champ.  The lamp he made with artist Eric Ziner’s help is beautiful.  He hopes that someday, I will indulge his desire to install a welder in the garage. This morning, when I hugged him goodbye, he told me he was only a little nervous and that I shouldn’t worry; he had been practicing his knots and was clear that he needed to keep his water bottle from freezing.  He’s right.  I don’t need to worry.  He will be just fine.

My degree in education as well as my twenty-plus years of experience in boarding schools help me to know that the Four Point Program is educationally sound.  As a teacher, I believe in Four Point.  This morning, I realized that I believe in Four Point as a parent as well.



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