These words have a great deal in common with what we hope students will achieve at Greenwood. Ultimately, we want you to develop the confidence to challenge yourselves and take healthy risks.
When students reflect on their experience at Greenwood, I often hear them refer to nothing ventured, nothing gained, as stepping outside of their individual comfort zone. The desire to take this step comes from knowing you have supportive teachers and staff. But wise educators also know that besides supporting students, they also need to challenge them.
Stepping outside your comfort zone is where true growth takes place. As educators, we know that the most important learning happens when the work you do is slightly more challenging than your readiness level. Researchers call this the zone of proximal development. By consistently working in this zone, you develop new skills and build self-confidence. Occasionally you make mistakes, but you also learn from these mistakes, as the process of trial and error is a vital part of all of life’s great discoveries.
At Greenwood, you have many opportunities to step outside of your comfort zone: learning in the classroom, playing on a school team, performing at coffee house or being in the school play, or through one of the many fall and winter OE experiences.
At Thursday’s Athletic Banquet, we celebrated the teams and athletes who demonstrated growth. This morning, we acknowledge students who throughout this year have pushed the boundaries of their comfort zone both in and outside the classroom, and in doing so have motivated others to do the same.