[Discuss-sudbury-model] Kudos to Evergreen Sudbury School, Maine

From: Melissa <hydeaway_at_suscom-maine.net>
Date: Mon Feb 10 14:04:01 2003

I am a parent of a student at Evergreen Sudbury School in Hallowell, ME and
hope to inspire messages from parents about their Sudbury school

Our child began at Evergreen Spring 2002 at age 11 and now spends his days
in a place where he can be himself, learn accountability as a member of a
self-governing community, and have the freedom to do things he enjoys doing,
such as working with animals. This is a child who suffered greatly in public
elementary and middle school; who was always told about all the things he
couldn't do instead of the things he could do. He outwardly appears
unmotivated but can be very motivated when he's discovering something he's
interested in. We've had to stay out of his way.

I found Evergreen on the web in desperation and haven't looked back, even
though it means almost an hour commute each way to Hallowell. I decided to
take a leap of faith and trust in its philosophy and now wish I could have
had a similar school experience. Most of my traditional public school
experiences are remembered with regret. My husband teaches in a
character-based independent high school that has only slowly gained
popularity following years of anecdotal success so we were open to finding
an alternative learning environment where our son's curiosity would not be

For myself, an Assembly member who volunteers on a regular basis at
Evergreen, I've had the opportunity to witness a Sudbury school in action.
While initially much of what goes on during the day felt undisciplined and
against my old habits, I've found it to have a life of its own where young
people challenge each other, hold each other accountable, and treat each
other with respect. They learn through constant interaction with each other
and staff members. Because they know no one will command them what to do,
they clearly take on responsibility for themselves. The staff members do a
wonderful job of blending into the school environment and allowing all
members to take part in making the school happen. Evergreen is a very small
but valuable place in Maine for young people who know they want something
different out of life than what's dictated by the state educational system.
I'm slowing getting over the need to justify our son's seemingly non
education to others. It feels right to us and that's what counts.

What am I learning at 46 years of age from Evergreen? That I over respected
authority for a very long time and am relearning who I really am by not
defining myself through what others think I should be. Life-long learning is
what I'd like to see my descendants strive for, as learning is a journey,
not a destination.

Melissa Romac


Received on Mon Feb 10 2003 - 14:03:34 EST

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