We are thrilled to have our students back on campus, including sixty new students who are joining us this year. Last week, we had the great pleasure of welcoming many of their parents to Roycemore during our new family orientation where I shared a few thoughts about the uniqueness of our school and the experience of our students.
I shared a story of one of our recent alumni and his experience. Five years ago a young man from a war torn, impoverished country, was on a quest to create a better life for himself. He was a strong student, at the top of his class. However, his teacher was concerned that if he didn’t get out of Afghanistan to continue his education, he would end up another casualty of war. She gave him a print out of 300 schools from China to the U.S. that accepted international students, thereby inspiring him to envision a future abroad for the first time. Iman spent months researching schools before finally whittling down his list to 50–Roycemore being one of them. His teacher in Afghanistan believed in him, and he realized that he had agency to pursue his dreams.
Iman joined us as a member of the junior class in August of 2017 and took advantage of all that Roycemore had to offer including teachers that believed in him. Many parents, teachers, students and community members supported him along the way, becoming an extension of his family. His story is full of twists, turns and miracles, among them, receipt of a full scholarship to Warren Wilson College in Asheville, North Carolina–realizing his dream to pursue a high school education and college in America.
Iman had a vision of a better life for himself and then took full advantage of every opportunity available to him to achieve his goal. He possessed the power of intention. This power allowed him to Take Off– which happens to be our theme for the 2021-2022 school year. While Iman’s story is pretty dramatic in terms of the road blocks he encountered on the way to achieving his goals, the way in which he overcame them is not unlike the path each Roycemore student undertakes on their road to success. I have given much thought to exactly what happens for our students at Roycemore that makes their success possible, and I have focused on four things:
- Number 1- They learn to believe in themselves.
- Number 2- They recognize that they have agency to create the future they wish to have for themselves– that they can in fact, create their own reality. They learn that they are engineers of whatever they can imagine– they are “imagineers.”
- Number 3- They learn to accept and love themselves for who they are and that they have people in their lives who want them to be fully themselves.
- Number 4- They have support along the way. They learn to seek out people to help them, and they enroll others in their vision.
Our program intentionally fosters experiences for our students to build confidence, self-advocacy, collaboration and many other important skills as part of our Portrait of a Graduate. It is not uncommon for Roycemore alumni and parents of alumni to tell us, “Roycemore saved my life,” or “Roycemore saved my child’s life.” I have thought about this often and what it is about Roycemore that has made such a difference in the lives of young people, and I think it is these four things:
- We believe in the innate potential of each child.
- We teach young people to self-advocate and that they have so much more ability in themselves than they thought.
- We create an environment where it is safe and encouraged to “be yourself.”
- and we support them along the way– providing an environment of psychological safety to be yourself, to take risks and to achieve more.
Our teachers are all LIFESAVERS!! I also believe Roycemore has saved each of us along the way, because our work with your children gives our lives a very special purpose and meaning. There is nothing more rewarding than making a difference in the life of a young person, and our faculty and staff are at Roycemore because they believe in this mission. I hope that is what brought you here and keeps you here. We’re not perfect, but working together, we can make a powerful difference in helping your children reach their full potential.
I am so grateful to every member of this community for all that you are and all that you contribute to making Roycemore the lifesaving, life affirming, and life changing institution that it is. I am excited to partner together as we TAKE OFF for the 2021-22 school year!!
In partnership for the education of your children,
Adrianne Finley Odell