With Thanksgiving upon us—I’d love to tell you about something I am thankful for. The story below fills me with both pride and hope.
Paoli High School is one of the schools The Growing Leaders Initiative collaborates with. We’ve granted Habitudes® resources, to help them learn leadership as teenagers. (The Growing Leaders Initiative is the philanthropic arm of our mission that gifts our programs to kids and schools that are in disadvantaged environments). The students regularly discuss what they’ve learned and have applied the principles brilliantly.
Allow me to explain.
It Started with a Pig and an Idea
Instructor Cory Scott was a bit frustrated over his current role. He was teaching English and Math—but having a difficult time translating those subjects to real life. That is, until he got an idea. After talking to his son about a pig he showed at the 4-H Fair, Cory decided to use the pig to not only teach his core subjects, but also to teach life and leadership. Yes—it started with a pig. The students within the Agriculture Department totally engaged with this new way of learning (animals always make learning more interesting), and Cory saw them take initiative to build a website and write blogs about their experience with the pig, Ms. Boots. They set up a small pen on the property and began learning genetic selection, husbandry, feeding and even breeding. In fact, Ms. Boots was due to give birth to her baby pigs during Christmas break—and the teens didn’t want to miss it. So, some students came in to school during their holiday, while others were able to see it on a webcam they set up to capture the birth. Even though the school is located in a small rural town, over 15,000 people watched it! These students were meeting their academic standards via real life experiences.
That, however, was only the beginning.
The School Took Notice
The next year, they bought two pigs, and later several more. Along the way, the learning expanded—from pigs and livestock to horticulture. Believe it or not, the school cafeteria now serves the pork and vegetables they’ve grown. The kids have become a significant part of the campus culture and leadership decisions.
Wow! I believe this is the way school is supposed to be.
They have set up a research fund, so students can apply for mini grants that allow them to build and research food production systems. And they’ve succeeded.
As this “real life” learning increased, Cory, his colleagues and his students decided they ought to build a barn, which had never been done before. However, when the superintendent was replaced, it was decided their budget didn’t have the money for a barn. At first, the students were devastated, but later decided to meet with key faculty and administration to ask if THEY could raise the money to build the barn. And that’s exactly what they did. Cory wrote and told us:
“We began raising money in November, 2017, and as of today, we have raised $212,450.83. The barn is fully paid for with some extra to cover repairs for our greenhouse and make some upgrades to other facilities. The students have given over 100 presentations, including lobbying at the statehouse, which drew visits from our senator and representative to the school. They’ve taught agriculture to adults and student groups and love telling our story to anyone that will listen.”
This all happened because students began to see themselves as leaders.
So, I have a question for you.
Could You Give Us a Hand?
With “Giving Tuesday” approaching, my question is: Is this the kind of story that inspires you? Are these the kinds of students you’d like to help us equip? The Growing Leaders Initiative would appreciate you donating any amount of money to help us grant training and resources to schools (and organizations) mentoring kids like these. We’re working with loads of these schools, impacting tens of thousands of kids—thanks to people like you who see the importance of equipping teens to think and act like authentic leaders.
$18 equips one disadvantaged kid. $500 equips a class.
Any amount will help. Could you help us?
To donate, CLICK HERE.
Help Students Think & Act Like Authentic Leaders –
Donate to The Growing Leaders Initiative
The Growing Leaders Initiative would appreciate you donating any amount of money to help us grant training and resources to schools (and organizations) mentoring kids like at Paoli High School with Cory Scott. We’re working with loads of these schools, impacting tens of thousands of kids—thanks to people like you who see the importance of equipping teens to think and act like authentic leaders.
Will you help break financial barriers so that all students can be prepared with real-life leadership?