Session 1 – Week 1 – Building the Tribe Quest!

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” – Lao Tzu

This past Monday, each one of our Warriors took that first step and embarked on their Hero’s Journey. As they began their Building the Tribe quest for this session, our Warriors spent the entire week engaged in various activities including riveting launches, stupefying Socratic discussions, thrilling team building activities, contemplative meditation, reflective writing, etc.

After a few minutes of morning meditation, our Warriors contemplated what life would be like 20 years from now. They closed their eyes and listened to the following narration:

Imagine this… It is the year 2036, everyone here is 20 years more experienced… Atharva, Darian, and Arjun are working in the research and development department for Google, Yatharth, Aryan, and Nishchay are aeronautical engineers designing fuel efficient airplanes for Southwest Airlines, Vishvam, Pranav, and Emerick have designed a famous city built entirely out of legos! On an archaeological expedition, Arjavi just discovered the fossils of a new species! Tej is running for Mayor of Dallas while his sister Ananya has combined her love of engineering and medicine to become a world renowned orthopedic surgeon. Amani, Divija, and Anya are successful, award winning journalists, and Rudri, Rushija, Janak have all made the Forbes top 10 list for the world’s most successful entrepreneurs. Pruthviraj and Rishi have both become the top lawyers in Dallas, using their knowledge of the law to help those in need. Iris, Siya, and Megha have all sold over a million copies of their award winning books, and Nirmal and Soham just had their contracts extended as professional basketball players for the Dallas Mavericks.

Of course this scenario may or may not happen … but the exciting thing is that your future is up to you. Each of you is a hero. Each of you is destined to change the world. This journey will not always be easy, though. There will be times of joy, fun, and success, but you will also face many challenges, moments when you don’t know what to do. You will discover new things about yourself and about your fellow travelers. You will create new ideas and you will debate the truth. In our search for purpose and direction in life, every year at The Humanist Academy we explore a Question of the Year. This is something we will explore all together through quests, discussions, civilization, art, and through your everyday experiences. We try to develop a deeper understanding and perspective on the question. This year’s QOTY is: What does it mean to be powerful? Is it having money, intelligence, status, or relationships? Each year we will have a new overarching question, one that forces us to dig deeply into many aspects of life to find the answer.

The ensuing discussion with our Warriors was captivating as they deliberated with their initial thoughts on the Question.

This week was packed with various thought-provoking discussions and tribe-building activities that helped establish a framework of concepts as a foundation for the entire year. We went on trust walks, created a provisional studio contract, watched the total solar eclipse through NASA’s website, upheld our Studio Maintenance responsibilities daily, conducted town hall meetings, played outside, and engaged in various team building challenges. Some of the most important things we discussed include the Hero’s Journey,  our quality of the session (curiosity), the importance of feedback and multiple prototypes to achieve excellence (through this powerful video called Austin’s Butterfly), having a growth mindset vs. a fixed mindset, the challenge donut, and appreciating the good things others do through character call outs. In addition to DEAR and reflective writing, we also “buried” our fears outside after placing them in a time capsule.

The biggest challenge our Warriors faced this week was certainly the Lip Dub.  They had to come together to create their very own lip-singing music video and every Warrior needed to be involved. After a lot of set backs, frustration, and even tears, they were able to come together and produce this amazing and unforgettable video. Can’t wait for another exciting week at THA to start!

Enjoy these snapshots from the week! Don’t forget to watch some videos from our launches this week. See you next week!







Boot Camp 2017!

“Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase.”
-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Thanks to all parents for putting your faith in us and sending your heroes to boot camp this week. Our warriors had such a blast!
Our launches this week included Socratic discussions on learning and the purpose of school, teamwork and collaboration, a pep talk video about what it means to be a hero, communication, and facing challenges. Our warriors participated various team building adventures throughout the week, while also engaging in daily Core Skills, whether it was math, reading, or reflective writing. Most of them expressed that their favorite part of Boot Camp was quest time, where they worked on the Studio Design Quest.
They spent about an hour each day working in small teams to enhance a certain aspect of our studio: the library, the entry, the supply room, the activity room, the main studio, the Montessori room, etc. They collaborated, brainstormed, took inventory, calculated costs, met with interior design experts and thought deeper about concepts like functionality, lighting, and aesthetics. Then they created proposals for our THA Board of Directors, which were videotaped while they presented in front of their fellow travelers this week.
On Friday, after meditation they participated in their weekly town hall meeting, discussed the powerful words of Frederick Douglas (“Without struggle there can be no progress), engaged in team building activities, participated in reflective writing about their highlights, struggles and lessons learned from the week, set up the studio based on their proposals, and ended the week with “Character Call Outs” and a yummy special snack!
Boot camp served as a reminder to us all of how much fun learning can be, especially when the warriors are in charge of their own learning. More than anything, this boot camp reminded all of us of how amazing and welcoming our community of warriors is. Not only are the bonds extremely strong between our warriors, but are newest warriors were able to jump right in and quickly become an integral part of our THA family!  We’re so excited to see the whole tribe together in a few weeks!