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Fragments II: micro stories about the learning business

Lessons in Admissions Beginning with a Piece of Lego on the Moon

Space X is planning to fly us all to the moon before very long.

So when we do finally get to go, I'm wondering whether our extraterrestrial tour guide will be taking us to visit a small Lego-style figurine, somewhere in the Apennine mountains, lying face down in the lunar dust.

A photograph of what appears to be a miniature plastic spaceman
Space junk or a trace of humanity for others to discover in a future time?

This tiny trace of humanity was placed there nearly fifty years ago by astronauts from the Apollo 15 moon landing as a miniature memorial to those who had died during their time in their respective space programs.

Human history all the way down to our own stories, whether on Earth or beyond, has always involved leaving traces of our presence. Consciously or unconsciously, wherever we go, we leave a part of ourselves behind. For good or for bad, we literally make a mark.

Observing the Class of 2018 at the International School of Brussels walk across the stage this week, I found myself thinking about how each one of these students have made an indelible mark on the school. Consciously or unconsciously, for good and for bad, they have left traces of themselves for those that follow in their footsteps. They have played a part in the unfolding story of the school and have been instrumental in writing its future.

There is nothing new here. Those of us who work in Advancement understand this concept of legacy and institutional memory.

But for a while now, I've found myself wondering why we don't apply the same logic to school admissions; why we focus so much on what visiting families are walking away with when they leave, rather than what they leave behind.

So I'm beginning to imagine a school in which visiting families are encouraged to make their mark even before they officially join our school. What this might be in practice, I am still not sure. Perhaps something as simple as a drawing or a few words of reflection on what they have seen, felt, and experienced.

The point is that I believe that our goal is not just for visiting families to remember us, but for us to let them know that we will remember them; that our school is better, marked, changed, because they took the time to stop by.

I may never see the Lego-style figurine lying face down, somewhere on the moon. In the same way, I may never see the impact of every family visiting my school.

But that doesn't mean that either has vanished without trace.

Photo by Joey Csunyo on Unsplash


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