EAST is focused on helping students to succeed and grow as they serve their community. Students are — and always will be — the spotlight of the EAST Initiative. However, we also know that student success is most often tied to the support and encouragement from an EAST facilitator or an EAST Core teacher. Our educators proudly serve EAST’s mission by inspiring their students to lead and to shine. Summer Seminar gives EAST the opportunity to focus specifically on facilitators and Core teachers. At the 2013 Seminar, EAST began what we hope will be a special and ongoing tradition. We had the honor of recognizing milestones of service. Certificates and service pins were presented to facilitators and Core teachers who have served 5, 10 or 15 years in an EAST classroom.
It was a heart-tugging experience, as I went down the list of names. I remember many of them as trainees in Phase I or first year facilitators — from conferences and site visits and all manner of interaction over the years. I remember many of their students and the projects they have shared. It made me realize how much time can compress itself when you’re not looking. Our professional development staff was on-hand with the pins and certificates and big hugs. It was a celebration of the best kind.
Afterwards, as everyone gathered for pictures, I had the opportunity to personally thank and reminisce with many of the facilitators. Some of the stories I can’t share with you because the statute of limitations hasn’t yet run out, but most took us back to earlier days when all of this was just a dream. At Seminar this year, we took stock of the foundations we had laid under our castles in the sky. And it was awesome!