Dear SCH Community,
Back in September, I gave students a little homework: “One: Think about a time when you took a chance, such as saying hi to someone new or trying a new food. How did the chance make you feel? Scared? Excited? Worried? Two: Ask a friend, parent, or relative about a time they took a chance. Talk about what you do when you see someone who takes a risk and falls down. How do you encourage them? How do you intervene if others laugh? Three: Be a chance hunter! Seek out chances—ones that allow you to grow, ones that create a sense of wonder and add meaning to your life.”
My homework had been spun out of Kobi Yamada’s picture book What Do You Do With a Chance? In it, a relatable character discovers a chance one day. But he lets it go because he isn’t sure about it. The chance comes around again. He takes it this time but falls and feels embarrassed. As a result, he is too scared to take another chance because he doesn't want to feel that way again. After realizing he’s missing out by not taking chances, something amazing occurs: He lets go of his fear and takes a chance which leads to something new and wonderful.
In this edition of SCHool, we highlight SCH “chance takers,” an apt phrase. One of them is Jessie Jane Lewis (1947-2011), a 1965 graduate of Springside School who, after developing multiple sclerosis, became a disabilities advocate and change maker. The Barbara Crawford Gallery 2022 fall exhibition, Chronic Creativity Art + Activism, featured her work. Students engaged in incredible discussions about Jessie's profound impact, particularly concerning polling place accessibility.
Other enterprising individuals featured in this edition demonstrate a powerful antidote to business as usual: commitment to something worthwhile but whose outcome is yet known. For many, taking chances can be not only challenging but outright frightening. Often risk-taking and success are placed in opposition to each other. What is the risk in taking a risk, and what is the risk in not? I suppose we call this opportunity cost in economics! Holding back can make us miss out on amazing, even exciting and beautiful, opportunities that help us become our best selves. Sometimes we need a little encouragement to be courageous in the face of fear. Playing it safe is so endemic to how most live that chance-taking is, in a sense, counter-cultural.
Read about what fires these chance-takers. In these pages will be wonderings and wanderings, edges and ledges, borders and breakthroughs. A defining characteristic of these chance takers is an entrepreneurial spirit. As you take in their stories, search your mind for a chance that invents your next leap. Join me as I join them as not only a chance taker, but also a chance leader, chance chaser, and chance maker poised to drive our school unmistakably forward.