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A Love Letter from an Acton Academy Parent.

Our school, Wildflower: An Acton Academy, is in its early years. Having launched in the Fall of 2020, we have only been a school for a short period.


When I have the privilege to share our story and mission with others, I sometimes struggle to articulate just how important this journey is. Starting a school for my children and yours has been the most rewarding thing I will ever do outside of my home.


Today, I can visualize what is to come from the 4-11-year-old Learners that we have now. I can imagine the great road ahead of them. It has not happened yet, but I know these Learners will accomplish great things as they graduate. For now, I hold dear to the stories that I hear from other schools like ours. The triumphs that this type of education will deliver to our Learners and other Acton Academy learners worldwide.


I hope you enjoy this sweet letter from an Acton Academy mom, a mom that is just like you and me.


I encourage you to read this letter and discover the incredible story of her son.


Love Letter,


As Holden ended his junior year and was free to speak to college rowing

coaches, or rather they were now free to contact him, so began the flurry of

activity that ushered in our college prep as parents.


We had wondered about this for some time, would he find the right

combination of education and sport? Not many universities offer men’s

rowing as a competitive sport, it was both a blessing and curse as it

narrowed down his choices, but also stymied his options at the same time.


Rowing is such a part of who Holden is. In fact, I’m not even certain how

to frame one without the other. From the age of 13 he’s been grinding year

round. There’s no off season, no quick rewards, there’s no championship

ring or prep rally. There is however, physical pain, blistered and torn

hands. There is entire seasons, maybe even years, of disappointing finishes

and no medals. There’s missed camping trips and lock-ins, there is a lack

of camaraderie of shared sport amongst classmates, regrets sent to parties

and connections not made. Yet the pros of this high performance sport must

somehow have a payout that keeps him on this path, but that is something for

Holden to speak to.


As summer Olympic development training ended, and connections were made and

zoom calls were scheduled with coaches dotting the East coast, Holden was

alive. Truth be told, I’m not sure he thought he had the skill set needed

for rowing at the next level. His eyes were bright, his voice exuberant.

Coaches were scheduling 20 introductory calls that were going well over into

60 and 90 minute calls. Holden, the athlete, with his podium finishes and

erg times and noted improvement is what was getting him the calls, but

Holden, the Acton Eagle, the hero sharing his journey, the vulnerability,

his learning to be and to do was making them take note.


“I’ve never had a call go this quickly or enjoyable”


“Most kids your age aren’t this engaging”


“I can’t believe the depth of questions you had for me”


“I’ve never had an athlete do more thorough research on the team or me as a

coach”


“Holden, if you don’t feel like this school or program is the right fit for

you, I would be honored to put in a good word elsewhere for you based solely

on this conversation”


After Holden’s official visit to Hobart and William Smith Colleges, there

was no doubt he had found his home. The coaches called out his most valuable

trait. “Holden, you are teachable and that is the most desirable thing we

could ask for in an athlete” The Dean of Entrepreneurial Studies was shocked

that Holden had read some of his papers, he took the entirety of his

afternoon off just to give Holden a more in depth tour. Holden was excited

about the school, the 9:1 student professor ratio, the apprenticeship

programs they offer, the classes he participated in felt like “Acton in

college form,” he said.


Some of the most elite rowing programs in the nation asked Holden to apply.

With each offer, we looked at him and said, keep your options open. When

Harvard and then Oxford sent requests, we looked at him again, and he was

flattered but unfazed and we knew that he had already found his next great

adventure and it was happening in upstate New York.


Holden was going to be Holden no matter where he went to school, he had the

trajectory of a well balanced student, but when he found Acton Academy there

was a magical combination of him as a learner with the power to chart his

own course. He has held that power and control over his life and we have

rarely stepped in. He has stumbled along his journey, he has succumbed to

self pity and he has fallen, but he alone has recovered and plowed forward.

With that is so much growth and power and self awareness and yet so much

empathy for those who weren’t capable of charting the same path. I think he

wrote it best in one of his essays, “Acton has given me the world.”


It’s clear that the principles and compass of Acton has elevated Holden as a

self driven athlete and student, but it’s also given us as parents a greater

understanding of our roles on this journey. It’s given us the insight to

see failures as growth, it’s given us the permission to sit back rather than

step in, it’s given us the confidence to trust the journey and to trust our

children. It’s given us endless debates about “what is a hero” and

discussion topics that pepper our daily lives. It’s given us family mottos

and chants, and rules to live by. In short, it’s changed who we are and how

we go about being, and it will continue to impact generations (let that sit

a minute) you have impacted GENERATIONS of our family, of countless

families, because you bravely and tirelessly worked to make Acton Academy

what it is. Thank you isn’t a grand enough term, but I’m not sure there is

one more fitting.

Love,

Acton Academy Mom


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