Good Evening Guests. We would like to thank each of you for joining us in our Better World Day celebration tonight. We are families from Old Sturbridge Academy Charter Public School and we are here as members of the national EL Education community, the OSA district community and, we are here as members and stewards of our own local community. We would like to take a minute to tell you a little bit about EL Education, Better World Day and our school.
EL Education is a K-12 nonprofit that creates school environments focused on student’s mastery of knowledge and skills, student’s character and their commitment to high-quality work. EL Education promotes active classrooms full of discovery, problem-solving, challenge, and collaboration. This hands-on, inquiry-based approach to education leads to a collaborative success between educators and scholars by tackling real-world problems. EL Education students have both the capacity and the passion to contribute to a better, more just world.
Better World Day started with one Chicago-based EL Education school whose students decided it was time to make a stand against gun violence in one of their district neighborhoods. The Polaris Charter Academy students called their protest “Our Day in May”. This single event inspired EL Education to create an entire celebration aimed at promoting civic action and honoring the essence of students acting to contribute to a better world that is a central philosophy in all EL Education schools. That alone is proof that small stones make big ripples!
Old Sturbridge Academy is a unique academic experience on multiple levels. For one, our school is a partnership with OId Sturbridge Village and, as such, our scholars enjoy the privilege of having the entire museum as an extension of their classrooms. Secondly, our scholars are not only taught and graded on academics but also on their character. If you were to ask any OSA scholar what the “Way of the Ox” is, they will excitedly tell you about the 5 Habits of Character that define their school’s expectations of conduct. The 5 Habits of Character are Courage, Collaboration, Perseverance, Stewardship and High-Quality Work. Fable-like stories teach students how these habits come in different forms. The mouse teaches the children about courage, sheep teach them how to collaborate, the frog emulates perseverance, the bee symbolizes Stewardship and the barn swallow is for High-Quality work. These animals and their corresponding character traits are woven into every day life at the Academy. Our scholars not only strive to model the Way of the Ox at school, but their goal is also to bring it out into their communities and, through civic activism, to “think global and act local”.
This year for Better World Day our school chose to honor the things we have in common since our wide district is comprised of very diverse communities. One of the things we all have in common is our common spaces. You use this space, I use this space, our neighbors also use this space. So, we are here today to plant this Yellow Birch Tree to honor the care and keeping of our common spaces and to celebrate the things we have in common as well as the things that make us different. We want to thank everyone who came out to this celebration and supporting the next generation in making the world a better place.