Student Life @ EPS

by Paul Hagen, Dean of Students

As simple as the EPS mission is to remember, it offers endless opportunity for instruction and student development. How do you ever exhaust the teaching of Critical Thought, or Responsible Action? How can you ever provide enough openings for students to Innovate Wisely and Lead Compassionately? How do we really teach the mission? As it turns out, the best way to guide students to Think, Act, Lead, and Innovate is to provide authentic opportunities for them to practice these skills in a meaningful way. And our student life program offers a vehicle for students to do just that.

Students propose clubs, influence social events, and advocate for peers. This week we saw an excellent example of students embracing the mission and rising to the occasion. Wednesday’s assemblies were  planned, produced, and run entirely by students.  The 8th grade class took the lead for the Middle School assembly and worked during their Fall Overnight as well as in class meetings to develop a program that involved the entire grade. Some student chose music, others wrote scripts, and still more managed the order of the program. The 8th graders worked to create an assembly that would welcome new students to EPS and that would provide thoughtful (and often hilarious) advice for our younger students. During the assembly itself everyone participated in one way or another, whether it was donning the mascot custom, performing in a skit, or reading a top ten list. Likewise, the Student Government and senior class put together the Upper School assembly. Several seniors sat on a panel and shared their thoughts on what makes EPS such a special place, advice on how to manage time and stay organized, ways to get involved in clubs, activities and sports, and stories from their EPS experience. Others announced important upcoming student opportunities, or acted in a short play entitle, “Progression from 9th to 12th Grade.”

Both the Middle School and Upper School assemblies were smashing successes—but not without jitters and the occasional glitch. And it is at that intersection—between support and independence, between success and challenge—that the greatest opportunities for learning occur. When students are given opportunities to Think, Act, Lead, and Innovate, they rise to the occasion. And when students are given the right measure of structure, support, and time, they thrive.