As I experience my meteoric rise to fame in response to writing this parent blog, I wonder…what comes next? A movie deal? A coffee table book? What skills do I need to be successful in the next phase of my career? I have decided to ask some Orchard grads what core values and lessons they learned from their time as students here that benefited them in their next life phases. 

I spoke with one recent grad, Aya, as she finished her homework and started making dinner for her mom. She said she learned “how to be a kind person and to value friendships. And fractions.” Her mom, Orchard’s art teacher, Valerie, added,  “She’s got mad fraction skills.”

This next offering comes from Lindsey, an adult alumni who is now parent to two current Orchard students.

“I was at Orchard from kindergarten through 1/2 of third grade. I didn’t have the metacognitive skills at the time to really understand what I was learning that would serve me as an adult, and now as an adult my memories of Orchard are blurry. I remember [it] with fondness as a time of childhood innocence and adventure. When I left [for my new school], I was surprised I had to wear shoes, the playground had asphalt instead of dirt, and I couldn’t climb the trees.

Now as an adult, especially an adult who works in the [public] education system, I realize that from my time at Orchard I developed self awareness, an appreciation and love for nature, an excitement for learning, and deep long lasting friendships. I had a community...that no educational institution has since come close to matching.”

Finally, I caught up with Thies, a recent grad who was back at school waiting for his little sister who still attends Orchard. “I have good math skills because of Orchard and I can run fast and for a long time,” he said. Judging from his interactions with the adults and kids surrounding him on this day, Thies has a confidence that seems to be inherent in Orchard alumni.

 I wish I had gone to Orchard as a kid. The values and skills you learn here are holistic. They encompass the entire being, inside and out. I hope I can gather enough of these just by being around it all to help me with my next phases. EGOT* here I come!

*EGOT is an acronym for "Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony" in reference to persons who have won all four awards.