Story by Haven Blinder
“Throwback Thursday” is an occasionally recurring column that reflects on students’ experiences and stories about Academy at the Lakes.
If you’ve ever been to one of Academy’s Retreats, then you know how well it opens people up and helps them bond. The many different activities available can guide students to a group of people they could potentially become close friends with. One example that I experienced at retreat took place during a free period in which students were allowed to roam and participate in different fun activities such as swimming, boating, and sports. I was relaxing in the main hall when a student walked up to the microphone onstage and recited a poem. Soon after, other students began to follow suit. I approached the stage and recited one of my own (one that I had never read aloud before). I already felt very comfortable with the people around me, which was a great contrast from my nervous mindset earlier. With time, the gathering transformed into karaoke. The atmosphere was very easy going and really evoked personal expression. It was a wonderful bonding experience and many other inspiring social bonding situations have most likely happened before.
If you know Academy, you know that the environment is very open and friends are easy to make here. One reason for this is something always going on in the background here … the 6Cs. The 6Cs are an essential part of the school. Every teacher’s curriculum is laid out in a curriculum map and each thing they do has to be associated with at least one of the 6Cs. This is referred to as the hidden curriculum, but as Mr. Pitcairn says, “…for us they’re not really hidden- they’re explicit; they’re out there.” According to Mr. Pitcairn, the hidden curriculum is about recognizing there is much more to an education than elements such as: “reading, writing, and arithmetic;” education is about teaching the value of concepts like citizenship and collaboration (6Cs). Also, these concepts are not just taught in the school’s classrooms; “…it happens on the basketball court, it happens on the stage in musical productions, it happens when we have a day of service.” Mr. Pitcairn alludes to the morning greetings at car line: “That is probably the highlight of my day. It’s a daily reminder of what I do, where I do it (most importantly) for whom I do it. It’s just a refreshing way to start the day.”
One of Mr. Pitcairn’s inspirations was the impact that the curriculum has on students and the advantages that it gives them. He says that since change occurs so often, students will have to learn how to think on their feet. His other inspiration was his own experience in boarding school. In Mr. Pitcairn’s words: “[It] was a boarding school, but caring adults taught me much more than just the subjects. I learned a great deal about life from them, and I came to really internalize how important that so-called hidden curriculum really was.” Involved parents commonly give feedback on the curriculum, though the students’ feedback is digesting what they’ve learned and using it. Additionally, alumnae will occasionally visit and provide details on how the curriculum has affected them and their future. All in all, the hidden curriculum is the key to students properly preparing for the future. It has affected students in many positive ways such as teaching them manners, social skills, and leadership. What are some ways that the hidden curriculum has affected you?