Posted by: dscaffidi | December 15, 2013


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As the semester comes to a close, we invited two final speakers to share their lives with our community during our Wednesday stewardship block. Last week we welcomed Debbie Jircik back to Conserve School to share with students her life as an artist and community activist. Debbie painted a picture of her winding career path that eventually led her to her current position as the director of Many Ways of Peace organization located nearby in Eagle River. Debbie shared with students her passions for art and community activism through several community art projects that she has worked on. She concluded by encouraging students to connect with Many Ways of Peace and offered students the opportunity to visit her studio and apply for a summer internship with the organization. Here are some links to learn more about a handful of the inspiring initiatives that Debbie has been involved with:

This past week we welcomed Melissa Simpson, the South Zone Recreation Manager in Ottawa National Forest. She shared her reasons for choosing a career in natural resources, the diversity of responsibilities she engages in as a recreation manager, and her future goals. She also offered some opportunities for high school students to get involved with government agencies, including the Forest Service. Opportunities to work on protected public lands include invasive species removal, wildlife surveys, and trail building projects with the Youth Conservation Corp (YCC) and the Student Conservation Association (SCA). Several CS7 students already made the volunteer connection this semester when they worked with Melissa in the Ottawa National Forest to clean up the Ge-Che trail during a weekend community service event.

As I reflect on the last two weeks of Stewardship I realize the many synchronicities and connections that are present in our daily lives here. Debbie spoke about her experience working as a potter only a week before ceramics students dined in style with their hand-made place settings. Debbie also spoke passionately about making paper out of old clothing only a few days before students learned about cloth paper during a quill making workshop (when quills were commonplace, scribes wrote on paper made of old cloth – today, paper made of wood pulp quickly wears down the nib of a quill). And just an hour before Melissa concluded her talk with a very strong power pose (see group photo), students learned about body language and how power poses can actually affect one’s physiology to produce a more comfortable, confident being.

Every day I observe connections across the academic disciplines here. As students practiced for job interviews during their Gather, Grow, Go! class this past week, they also prepared for another kind of interview in Jeff’s English class. Students selected and researched an issue that was close to their heart and then had the chance to be interviewed by Johnny Williams (Jeff), host of the radio show Talk of the Classroom. A series of guest speakers was chosen to field questions from the host and from classmates standing by on the phone lines. It has truly been an inspiration to watch the students of CS7 develop their passions and grow in confidence this semester.

I hope you enjoy the slideshow, which seems like a hodgepodge collection of happenings, but represents the diverse connectedness here at Conserve School.


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