by Taileigh Hull and Benjamin Kin, Eagle Rock Students
Last month, the Student Ambassador Program from Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center collaborated with The Inspiration Project to co-host a virtual “Field Trip” related to “How Eagle Rock learns from and with the natural world.”
The Student Ambassador program is a student & educator partnership that undertakes educational initiatives to improve Eagle Rock as well as schools around the country.
The Inspiration Project offers virtual field trips and workshops that help innovative educators think differently about what school can be. They provide regular space and bite-sized sparks to ensure inspiration isn’t a luxury, but an ongoing practice for all. The virtual Field Trips are short and sweet virtual school (or non school) visits. Each 90-minute experience spotlights two or three organizations who are bringing that month’s theme to life. They give participants a window into their work and share real artifacts educators can take with them.
Taileigh H. reflected, “I really enjoyed participating in the presentation for the Inspiration Project. At first, I was intimidated by the thought of presenting to adults, especially knowing that they probably knew more than me. However, the audience seemed engaged and asked questions that showed me they were not only interested in learning more, but hearing what Ben and I, as students, had to say. It felt good knowing that my perspective and experience was being valued and reflected on by others. It was cool that adults could learn from me and my experience. I also liked that we weren’t only presenters, but we also got to participate in the small groups and connect with others to debrief the experience. A takeaway from this experience about myself is that I’m getting better at reflecting on my own experiences and thoughts, and being able to effectively communicate them to others.”
Ben K. contemplated, “I felt really empowered to be part of the team sharing experiences from Eagle Rock. I felt like the people who attended the share outs were really interested in our school’s mission in general, but also what the student voice was in terms of how we interact with the school and the ways we learn here. I felt like being able to share my own experiences to a wide variety of people who were curious and engaged in the topic was really cool. I loved being able to share things that were meaningful to me about my school and communicate to an audience in a way that sparked curiosity amongst those listening I think in the future, having a more solid idea of what I want to say would be better because time moved really fast during our presentation, and I would’ve liked to have more time to talk with the participants. Overall, I really enjoyed the whole experience, and I hope we get to do similar things in the future.”
And, the good news is that they will be doing similar things in the future! Taileigh and Ben are collaborators on an upcoming initiative across the organization, The Changemaker Cohort. The Changemaker Cohort is a year-long experience for youth-adult pairs to make antiracist, social justice changes in their schools. This upcoming year, we will run The Changemaker Cohort internally for Eagle Rock students and staff. Taileigh and Ben will be presenting and facilitating along with members of the Professional Development Team and other students and staff. We will roll out The Changemaker Cohort for pairs across the country in the 2023-24 school year.