Inspiring Vision: Semester 16 Reflections

Alzar School | 08.04.20

A high school junior in Ohio just built a website to connect older folks seeking grocery delivery with younger volunteers willing to deliver items.  In McCall, Idaho, a high school senior has sewn over 100 masks for local health care workers and is holding video chats to coach others on how to help from home.  These were two recent examples shared by Semester 16 students during a recent Capstone Leadership Course journal entry assignment (submitted by Mariam and Anika respectively).  Each week, teacher Hattie Tehan poses a question to students, who then reflect on one of the 10 Elements of Leadership and how they are seeing it play out in their lives. For Journal #5, students were prompted with the following, surrounding the element of “Inspiring Vision”:

CLC Journal #5:
As we hear multiple times a day, these are times of uncertainty and discomfort.  Among the crazy, there are millions of people doing amazing things to inspire vision in others around the globe.  For your Leadership Journal this week complete the following: Spend 10 minutes researching inspiring acts that people are doing in your community, in the US, or globally. These acts should somehow relate to the COVID-19 events.  Next, spend 10 minutes explaining what affect the person or people that you found in your research is having on their community. How are they inspiring vision? What do they inspire in you? What can you do to inspire vision in your community?


Unsurprisingly, students identified numerous and diverse examples of how individuals and groups around them are inspiring vision in the midst of COVID-19.  Some included highlights of businesses, such as Brynn noting a Four Seasons hotel in New York is providing rooms for healthcare workers free of charge, or Ellie reflecting on a small Greensboro, NC business making ventilators.  Ellie shared: “Despite being a relatively small company, they are the epitome of every small thing counts, because just providing just one ventilator to someone can help save or sustain a life.”  

Similarly, Carson, Zeke, and Abby chose to share news about how communities are supporting healthcare workers and vice versa.  Carson notes that a Foundation highlighted in the news inspired him “to stay home and practice better hygiene when it comes to washing hands and disinfecting things.  I could inspire those in my community by making reminders to stay inside and practice good hygiene habits to slow the spread.”  In his California neighborhood, Zeke has seen people rally together with a ‘community howl’ each night, showing their support of local health care workers.  Abby uploaded an article about Harvard medical students graduating early to help in fight against COVID-19.  She wrote: “These kids inspire me because instead of being upset that their senior year was cut short, or they don’t get to have a formal graduation, they are thinking of others.  When faced with a challenge, leaders can give up, or they can push through. That is what these students are doing. They are practicing resiliency and resourcefulness, and being completely selfless.  I admire these students very much. I also admire the doctors and nurses who are risking their lives to help people, no matter how scared they may be.”

I think during these times, it is especially important to focus on how you can make a difference in small ways, and it will all add up – Caroline

Several teens have been inspired by how food can support others in times of crisis.  Kathleen shared news about an art center in South Bronx offering free meals to community members.  She wrote: “I find it really inspiring how this arts center is looking out for the people in their community. What they are doing is pretty simple, but it has a huge impact. Their kindness and action is really inspiring to me.”  In his own household, Tucker shared the positive benefits of sharing food: “when I bake, I feel joy and the end product brings me and anyone who has it joy (usually). Spreading this positivity is the best way to beat this virus. There isn’t much I can do but stay home and do school, but finding creative ways to spread positivity is super inspiring and a really cool way to spend quarantine time.”  Tucker wasn’t alone in his recognition of the importance of fun and laughter, as Madi (talent competition for a good cause), Kathleen (tweets from ‘The Cowboy’ museum security guard), and Maya (funny acts of animals and people) all chose to share.  Maya wrote: “They are inspiring vision because they are sharing positive situations and not being negative about the virus.  They remind people that there are still things in the world that are happy, fun, and entertaining…. I want to make others happy in this time of suffering as well.”

I can focus on being positive and hopefully this will extend to people outside of my home – Julia

From parking lot drive-through priest confessions (Hatcher) to acts of kindness in Atlanta (Caroline) or other various acts of kindness and good deeds (Julia), we are surrounded by people working to inspire vision in our communities and country.  Semester 16 students are inspired by others’ ability to create positivity despite the dire situation.  “I think that all of these people are inspiring vision by seeing the good in a bad situation, and trying to make things better,” Caroline shared.  Julia added: “This is all inspiring because even if these people’s circumstances are bad they are still working towards finding positivity.”

We know that Semester 16 students, along with other Alzar School alumni, are inspiring vision in big and small ways, and, as is our mission, using their leadership skills to positively impact the world.  As these teens know, their outlook, attitude, and actions make a difference.

I hope to find ways to support the people in my community. I think that despite the fact that so much of this is out of our control, we can stand with one another making this time so much better – Kathleen

Thank you, Semester 16 students, for inspiring vision in us too!

Rainbow on Lago Atravesado at the Base Patagonia campus.