On Friday Manny Ohonme, CEO of Samaritan’s Feet, visited the Collierville Campus of St. George’s Independent School. The goal of Samaritan’s Feet is to provide shoes for ten million young people living in poverty around the world.
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This year our Friday chapel services are for grades 6 – 12. In the past the Upper School (9 – 12) and the Middle School (6 – 8) only came to gather as a full group rarely–convocations, holiday celebrations. As part of an effort to knit our community together more tightly, bringing us all together in chapel only makes sense. It is a weekly reminder for us that we are connected, that we are part of something bigger than ourselves and that our shared space and experience at SGIS is valuable and powerful.
When Manny Ohonme spoke to our group Friday, he celebrated our school’s diversity and our privilege to be a part of the SGIS community. He reminded us of just how rare it is in the world to have some of the things we may at times take for granted–friends, families, education, food, shelter, and…yes, shoes. He offered us the sort of perspective one garners when exposed to people who have vastly different life experiences than our own. I believe this exposure is imperative for every students’ growth. It is core to the SGIS approach, and it is a large part of the reason I chose this school for me and for my family.
After the service was over, I thought again of something I have often talked about and written about, that is, education is a gift. In fact, it is on the short list (right beside love of family and good health) of the greatest gifts we might ever receive. Our education is indeed ours–no one can take it away once we have it. It goes with us even if we lose everything else. It guides us and prepares us for what is ahead. So..it is ours. It is about us.
But it is also not about us. Most interestingly perhaps, our education exists only as we make meaning from it and as we are moved toward action in the world as a result of it. The questions I have for all of us who have had the privilege of an education such as the one at SGIS–
- What will we make happen as a result of our education?
- How can we use our education to impact the world around us?
- How can we make our education not simply about us?
- How can we continue to learn from people who have different backgrounds, different opinions?
- How can what we already know lead us to want to learn more, understand more, impact more?
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