INSIGHT: The Transformative Power of Education Beyond the Classroom

Paul Hagen, Director of Student Well-Being 

As a high school freshman, some thirty years ago, I boarded a plane for my very first flight—only a short trip down the coast from Seattle to San Diego, followed by a bus ride to Tijuana, Mexico. There, for one week, I worked with Habitat for Humanity, building a small home for a local family. Three decades have passed, but the memories from that trip remain as vivid as ever. The dusty construction site, and unbelievably spicey pozole and tacos—so hot they made my eyes water and my nose run—playing soccer with a well-worn ball in the afternoon sun… But mostly, I remember the people who freely welcomed me into their community and shared their culture with me. In many ways, that short trip was truly transformative for me. It expanded my worldview and developed my sense of self; providing a pivotal moment of introspection and growth that continues today.

All travel—especially purposeful educational experiences like EBC Week—holds the potential for deep learning, growth, and transformation. Travel can open eyes and minds. It can change perspectives, clarify purpose, spark interests, and change lives. That is why, for one week each spring, we pause from our regular schedule and pursue the kinds of experiences not possible in the classroom. Education Beyond the Classroom is a significant moment in the EPS calendar—a week dedicated to discovery, exploration, and experiential learning. This week offers students an impactful opportunity to explore new territories—intellectually and geographically.

While the destinations and activities are undoubtedly a big part of what makes EBC Week so special, the real magic is in the students. Our students approach the world—and their own learning—with a healthy dose of the EPS Mission and Vision, and EBC Week affords them an excellent chance to put that to good use in the “real world.” Students will have plenty of opportunities to practice Critical Thinking, Responsible Action, Compassionate Leadership, and Wise Innovation all week long. Students will also explore the world that our Vision inspires them to serve and improve. Each step of the way, dedicated teachers and staff will be guiding, encouraging, and inspiring students as they explore, discover, and learn together.

We are confident that this year’s EBC Week will once again be full of discovery, growth, and lasting memories for all of our students. So, here’s to another wonderful week of transformative experiences beyond the classroom!