You could hear the roars of youthful excitement from a distance. Cheers of budding glee, intermingled with shouts of surprise and intrigue, rushed down the upper school halls like a herd of charging cattle.
I had been forewarned. The fourth graders had received an unusually large and grisly package in the mail for their science class. I'm married to their teacher, so news of this kind is easy to come by. "It's from Lockhart Ranch," Mrs. Gildersleeve had stated with buzzing anticipation the night before. "We owe them a big thank you for what might be the best experiment ever."
As I neared the lab room, one of the young scientists greeted me outside the door. Her face was full of the same enthusiasm that continued to erupt from inside. "It's a cow heart, Mr. Gildersleeve!" she exclaimed. "I got a little dizzy looking at it so I'm taking a quick break, but I'll be back in there."
I entered and braced for what could be a most gory sight. For the moment, I had been spared. All of the fourth grade students were huddled so close as to build a wall around Mrs. Gildersleeve and the sizable bovine organ.
"There's the right atrium!" shouted one. "You're right!" proclaimed another, "and that must be the right ventricle, then!" Others marveled at the complexity and breadth of the aorta. Mrs. Gildersleeve nodded with deep satisfaction - and pride.
Even as a spectator, it was one of those crystal clear moments when one experiences the immeasurable joy that comes with working in education. And not in just any education, but in this school and with these students, in an environment where learning is, more oft than not, fun.
These moments have become increasingly common for me of late. The third graders held a Roman Fair for which students from every grade in the lower school, K-6, found time to admire the care and detail of their classmates' work. Then, last week, students and parents alike gathered for the Spelling Bee to witness Paschall McDaniel finish first with the closing word plasma, p-l-a-s-m-a. Students competed to win, but it was clear they competed to learn, first.
At the Fair, the Bee - and the fourth grade science lab - we learned, and did so together. There will be more joint-learning opportunities such as these for our students - and parents, too - in the weeks to come. The sixth graders embark on their Tram Field Trip on Friday, February 21. Then, to close the month, the second graders will present their Complex Machine Projects on Thursday, February 27. I encourage you to join us.
Nondiscrimination Policy: Jackson Hole Classical Academy admits students of any gender, race, color, and national or ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to students. Jackson Hole Classical Academy does not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, color, national or ethnic origin in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, tuition assistance, athletic, arts or other school administrated programs.