At the end of school year in my office among the budgets, evaluations, board reports, student records you will find a large wall with pictures of students from Robert Land Academy (RLA) involved and engaged in different activities.
This digital mural had its origins back on Tuesday after Labour Day weekend when I put a picture up of our NCOs, (RLA’s version of student leaders), who were getting ready to support the new students for the 2016-2017 school year.
Over the coming weeks this picture was joined by pictures of: students participating in the RLA Fall Exercise, marching in local Santa Claus parades, students training for their open water SCUBA dives, our boys working with Massanutten Military Academy on a Spring Exercise, our Elementary students having fun a Tree Tops on their high ropes course, the “parking crew” hanging out during our Annual Inspection, a picture of all the dads who came for Father/Son Day in February; too many pictures to describe them all in this blog.
The creation of this tapestry of memories for the 2016-2017 school year demonstrates the growth of a school community, accomplishments of our boys, and evidence of what can occur when students, staff and parents all work together to accomplish the goal of realizing one’s potential.
The last picture I placed on the wall in June was a picture of RLA’s graduating class. Placing this picture was a little bit difficult though, but finally, after much thought, I moved the first picture that was placed back in August, which became the center and replaced it with the Graduates and then moved our NCO to another part of the Wall of Memories.
Each of these pictures were put up in my office to remind me of a few things:
How many of the student’s at RLA have met and at times surpassed the expectations set out by the Academy.
How focused our students can be when given a challenge like a Fall Exercise, SCUBA or Para training and how happy they look when they have met the challenge.
How various experiences, mentioned above, bring out the best in the young men who attend RLA. (The best of course also means that many of our students had to overcome their own struggles with the support of staff and our structured environment.)
As the year has ended I will soon take down these artifacts of the 2016-2017 school year. As I do this I know they will be fond memories of what our students have accomplished individually and as a school. When I am finished though the wall we bare, but that is OK, I cannot wait to start collecting the visual reminders of the 2017-2018 school year.