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In May we had the privilege of watching the third set of graduates walk across the stage to collect their HKA Diplomas. Documented on each small sheet of paper was an acknowledgment that the student had successfully concluded his or her secondary education and was ready to embark upon the next phase of a personal journey for which the destination most likely remains unclear. Parents watched with pride and satisfaction as the ceremony brought their sons and daughters one step closer to adulthood and teachers marveled at the thought of being in a profession that helps to develop young minds that might one day change the world. All of us in the HKA community took some gratification from the fact that we played a direct or indirect role in helping each of the graduates get to the next stage of his or her journey.

For those of you with teenage children, you will have had some first hand experience of the trials and tribulations that the process of raising people at this age can bring. It’s a journey that is compelling to be a part of, but one strewn with obstacles in the form of letters and number grades, test scores and entrance requirements that can sometimes overshadow what is most important, the happiness of your child. If you have ever watched the Amazing Race, you’ll know that it is a reality television game show in which teams race around the world. The race is broken up into stages and contestants attempt to arrive first at each

leg of the journey to win prizes and to avoid coming in last so as not to be eliminated or disadvantaged for the next stage. On the way they encounter obstacles or challenges that test their abilities in a host of different ways and will ultimately determine the winners and losers. Formal education, if we are not careful, can become a bit too much like the Amazing Race; it is imperative that we intentionally create the kind of environment where the journey, and not the race, is protected.

As HKA educators and parents working in partnership, our responsibility is not necessarily to remove the types of obstacles that challenge students emotionally and intellectually, individually and collaboratively, but to resize them to the extent that each student feels motivated to want to take the next step in the journey. Through self-management and self-monitoring, we want students to feel empowered and confident to tackle dilemmas without fear of elimination, to regard failure as an opportunity to learn and not a disadvantage that will continue to make the journey that much harder, and to value collaboration over competition for determining success. In doing so, we are fulfilling our mission that:

...empowers learners to pursue pathways to individual excellence by fostering creativity, communication and problem- solving skills.


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