Shining Rock Classical Academy: Haywood County, North Carolina’s first public charter school.
On August 19, 2003, after an incredibly long, grueling, and everything-that-I-didn’t expect-to-happen labor, I gave birth to my first child, Aidan. It was love at first sight.
Twelve years to the day after his birth, after another incredibly long, grueling, and everything-that-I-didn’t expect-to-happen laborious effort, I helped “deliver” a new school to our community. It too was love at first sight.
The night before school started, Aidan told me he was excited that Shining Rock opened on his birthday because it was “the best gift ever.” I’m going to assume he wasn’t referencing how I may have permanently scarred him by my homeschooling efforts. 😉
Our county’s public schools do an amazing job achieving their goals. Anyone who disputes that is simply ignoring the facts. Two of my own children have had the privilege of experiencing this at Junaluska Elementary with the loving and competent guidance of Kristie Easler, Stephanie Mehaffey, and Jessica Ottie (as well as other teachers who provided ancillary services). I appreciate every single day my children had with these amazing women and at this school.
So then what’s the issue, you might ask? Why would I spend the last three years of my life, pouring countless hours into unpaid work to create a new type of school, all while facing ongoing criticism and skepticism, if I believe that our schools achieve educational success? The answer requires a bit of a history lesson.
I won’t bore you with an explanation of why I started homeschooling–you can read it here if you’re curious. The reason I started the journey, however, is vastly different than the reason I continued. In short, the benefits and life lessons gleaned from incorporating regular experiential, place-based learning, especially if it involved time in the natural world, became just as important to me as them attending a school with even the highest ranking test scores.
It was this particular day that tipped the scale for me. Education could no longer be regularly limited to the confines of a classroom when the world was merely a few steps away–especially when the immediate world is western North Carolina. The effects of “breathing room” outdoors crossed the divide into our “classroom” at home, equipping my kids with a better sense of themselves and a deeper appreciation for environmental stewardship. It’s a reciprocal relationship with far reaching results.
And so began the dream of Shining Rock Classical Academy.
If there is no struggle, there is no progress. ~Frederick Douglass1500K for Shining Rock Update
I can’t hold in the excitement of sharing the good news that our family has completed nearly every step of our 1500 kilometer goal! We have less than a mile remaining before we are finished with our fundraising hikes!My commitment and work for Shining Rock is a daily endeavor, and I’m thankful I have the flexibility in my schedule to help it succeed. Regular blogging about our family hikes has had to take the back burner temporarily to more pressing matters; however, there are pending posts to reflect hikes we have completed over the summer on an epic family vacation that we hope inspires others to travel the same paths. I promise, they’ll be posted soon. .
Miles Hiked in Yellowstone National Park: 176.5
Miles Hiked in Grand Teton National Park: 115.8Miles remaining: 0.8!!!
To date, we have reached 76.2% of our $25,000 goal for Shining Rock Classical Academy’s experiential programming!! THANK YOU to all of you who have contributed–your donations have already been put to work with school-wide and individual classroom field trips!
If you’ve been waiting until the end to contribute, to make sure we made good on our promise, I think it’s safe to say we’ll succeed! Here’s how you can help with our mission to provide engaging, educational, and downright awesome opportunities for our students, especially for those who might not otherwise have these experiences in their lives:
1. Send a check to 222 Methodist Drive, Lake Junaluska, NC 28745, made out to Shining Rock Classical Academy.
2. Click on this link and you’ll be taken to Crowd Rise, an online fundraising website, where you can donate with a credit card.
All contributions are tax deductible and we will send you a receipt with our 501c3 information