by Adam Beeson, M.A.
When teaching critical thinking and research skills, teachers often find themselves telling students to go “straight to the source.” Why read second-hand accounts when a primary source is readily available?
Just who is a SIGA student? Let’s take a page from the teacher’s handbook and go straight to the source. The following four quotes come from a rising tenth grader’s personal essay in his recent SIGA application:
“I would appreciate a certain level of freedom to study my interests, but support to stay organized, focused and on task. I have a different learning style that I now see needs to be honored in order for me succeed. I can’t just fit into a defined educational box.”
SIGA students are curious, engaged, motivated learners who want more than what a traditional, linear Industrial-age school can provide. SIGA students can do well in traditional settings, but they know that they want to learn differently. SIGA students want to be challenged to step outside of their comfort zones bit by bit so they can grow and become autonomous, engaged, proactive life-long learners.
“I am currently co-writing a story with 2 of my friends, it is similar to the stories of Avatar, the last Air Bender. It is about heroes, and adventure, like history, but instead of the political or economic focus, the characters focus on personal development.”
Students who will do well at SIGA have interests and passions that they get excited about but may sometimes have a difficult time seeing how subjects they study in school integrate with those interests. They may feel that they are required to do “busy work” in some classes without seeing reasons or results, and want to know that what they are learning they can apply in real-world, hands-on ways.
“I have always been good at helping my friends with their problems, so I was interested in learning strategies to be more helpful. I learned listening, communication, and conflict resolution skills. I was nominated by classmates and staff, ‘based on being mature, open-minded, patient, and empathetic.’ I needed to be a good example for the rest of the younger kids in school, so I had to be very aware of my own behavior and attitude. I am interested in continuing on with more training that would advance my role as a peer leader, mentor and valued global student.”
SIGA students care about others and want to have supportive relationships with faculty, opportunities to travel and learn about other cultures and different ways of doing things, and they want support in navigating the world of adolescence so they can best be effective, efficient, and productive members of their families, friendships, and communities. They are motivated to understand themselves better and lead healthy, creative, fulfilling lives. SIGA students are bright, curious, and want to explore their internal worlds as well as the external world in order to make sense of their own paths and what they have to contribute. Finally, SIGA students know that society is changing rapidly and they want to play a part as global citizens in helping solve important problems to create a better future for themselves.
“I am looking for an alternative high school community that I can connect with, one that is also striving for personal development, physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually and even energetically!”
SIGA students want what most of us want from life. They want a successful future, but are a bit wary of the “traditional” paths of achieving success. The competitive “pressure cooker” perfectionism model seems tedious, overwhelming, unrealistic, and unfulfilling; yet SIGA students know that they want more than anything to be successful, active agents in their own lives. They just believe there is a better, more engaging, more collaborative way to get there. And they're right.
Multiple contributors will be posting on our blog to keep you posted on the development of SIGA!
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"Siga" in Spanish means keep going... continue forward... persist... and that's what we do!
If you're ready to engage, immerse, and emerge a better you,
consider SIGA for your high school experience and your life.