In a NativityMiguel school, every moment is sacred; an opportunity for teaching, learning and reinforcing a message of growth. Even as students move through the day – arriving at the school, transitioning to classes, breaks, heading home – the physical space is utilized as an opportunity to support that teaching and learning and solidify the message. Through the lens of what is seen on the walls, ceilings and floors, students, faculty, staff and all who visit can intentionally engage with school values.
A mural, for example, if purposefully aligned, visibly represents who we are and who we want to be as a school community. On a recent tour of Epiphany School in Boston, MA prior to a Heads of School meeting, I was struck by a mural created by a graduate of the school that depicts game-changing historic figures. The guiding phrase – We are because they were – reminded me of the message I heard at Nora Cronin Presentation Academy this fall about standing on the shoulders of those who came before us.
What really caught my attention was the painting of the individual at the top of the stairs. The question marks painted around the figure heightened my curiosity so I asked John Finley, head of school, “Who is this? I don’t think I recognize him.” His response was beautiful and powerful.
The grad who painted the mural wanted to celebrate the ordinary person, the ordinary individual whose name is not widely known, or at least not yet. This face inspires on two levels. First, it recognizes that each one of us has the potential and possibility to courageously rise to the occasion, to achieve something historic. NativityMiguel schools deliver a formative education; our students are challenged be thoughtful and selfless in applying their learning to address problems and envision a more just world. Perhaps someday a student from Epiphany or anyone of our schools will adorn murals on walls everywhere because he/she has forever changed the world for the better with his/her scientific breakthrough, engineering innovation, political persistence, lawful persuasion, artistic endeavor or literary masterpiece.
Secondly, and even more importantly, each one of us has the ability to do something remarkable each day that positively impacts our community. The grad was recognizing the strength in each of us to become extraordinary when we love sincerely and care deeply for one another and the world in which we live. In doing so, we all have the power to change the world for the better.
To me, this is the wonder of the Christmas season: the audacity of the ordinary; that a child humbly born in a manger could become Messiah for all, kings and shepherds, royalty and marginalized, as a simple believer, messenger and practitioner of God’s love. As we pause to celebrate the birth of Jesus, we also remember and honor the courageous stories of our students, families, graduates, faculty, staff and supporters and so many other seemingly ordinary individuals who are guiding stars in their contribution each day in our communities. At the Epiphany School, your picture is on the wall.