Imagine the 'charter' in you
In the not-so-secret or mysterious catacombs of Marysville Charter Academy for the Arts culture, an ethnographer may conclude that the word "charter" has a particular colloquial meaning in the minds of the school's students. This conclusion may have arisen in my mind after hearing it uttered incessantly in classes, at lunch and just about everywhere else. It seems to be a form of scapegoat: "Why do we play musical chairs during lunch? It's charter." Cryptic.
After much inquiry, I derived an answer from these conniving students playing their part in the pedagogical paradigm shift that is MCAA. "Charter" is a term to define the school's idiosyncrasies and the strange people the school reels in. Of course, the most defining aspect of this school is its sponsorship of creativity, its patronage to imagination.
The value of imagination cannot be underestimated; in the words of Northrop Frye, "The world of imagination ... contains morality, beauty and truth but is not subordinated by them, rising free of all their compulsions." It is the most liberal state of mind, free of the tediousness and mischances of everyday life.
Imagination offers a poignant glimpse of joy beyond the bulwarks of the mundane, and it keeps MCAA alive. It is the ability to hope and dream and smile through all the brambles and thorns of plays and projects and papers that revitalizes the spirit of the school and its students. It is what kept us struggling as we pushed deadlines on "Pygmalion." It is the charter in all of us — MCAA students and others alike.
Reflected by the flexible nature of the school, teachers are capable of stepping beyond the worksheets and standards and provide the school with their individual passion and creativity. This nurturing is best expressed in the statement: "You are what you eat." At MCAA, we eat imagination and ardor, and our actions in response are reflected by it. In our history of hard work and success, there is a clandestine tome of creativity.
In the seventh grade, I remember endlessly reciting a quote by Wilfred Woodruff for social studies. It was dull at the time, but it taught me a lesson. The words were: "There is no fate, no chance, no destiny that can circumvent, hinder or control the firm resolve of a determined soul." It taught me never to give up, and the ardor and hope necessary never to do so.
It is healthy to have a break, though, to rejuvenate the creative juices and have some mashed potatoes. So I wish you all a happy Thanksgiving.
I'd like to end with another quote to top the myriad of quotes so far. Of course, such a trump card would, of course, have to come from Albert Einstein: "There are only two ways to live. You can live as if nothing is a miracle, or you can live as if everything is a miracle."
Mark Runyan is a senior at the Marysville Charter Academy for the Arts. His column appears about every sixth week in Education.