Mary Gibson is a teacher at a large suburban high school. She teaches AP Comparative Government, AP Macroeconomics, AP Psychology, AP Seminar, and Honors Economics. Mary is also a freelance media consultant and is based in The United States of America. Here she shares some life advice with her former students, alongside some examples of incredible work done by some of the Gold Award holders that she has recently met.
Every day, you show me how much you care about your education with your hard work, attention, participation, and preparation. I challenge you to think critically, discuss your many questions, and help you find true meaning in your learning.
Your other teachers and I ask much of you; we push you because we believe in you.
Those same core skills that you use for academic success – commitment, critical thinking, interpersonal skills, self-discipline, self-assessment, learning from your mistakes, time management- are also the ones you use to be successful outside of the classroom. When I attend your extracurricular events and see your high-level performances, I am in awe. I ask myself, how did you attend practice, compete, or prepare that event and still find time to perform well in your classes?
What if I told you that you could take the same activities you do now, add an adventurous journey, community service, and a residential project and receive for your informal activities a formal award that is recognized in over 130 countries and territories around the world? The Award will allow you – with the guidance of an Award leader – to put these activities under one umbrella.
Here’s what I love about the Award process – it plays to everyone’s strengths because you get to design your own Award experience. You don’t need to pass a standardized test benchmark or join something; there are no hefty fees and extra time-consuming practices. It cuts across socioeconomic boundaries. You get to enhance what you are already doing – using your passion to refine your purpose and ultimately discern your place in the world! It is the perfect differentiated learning experience. It also allows you to use your core skills to make a long-term difference in the world around you.
I recently had the privilege of attending a Gold Award ceremony in New York City. Merrill Ann Culverhouse from Alabama told me how she had convinced the State of Alabama to create a license plate tag to support efforts to combat Colon and Rectal Cancer. Pei Shan from New York City told me that his Gold Award experience helped him to discover and pursue his dream to be a math teacher.
We are all lifelong learners – the difference lies in what we choose to learn, what we expose ourselves to, the chances we take, as well as the way we deal with failure and with success. A bulletin board in my classroom is based on the positive mindset work of Psychologist Carol Dweck. These very skills are valuable inside the classroom and out. Be assured, the Award process can provide you with the opportunity for excellent out of classroom experiences that will surely enhance your learning on all levels!
There’s no time like the present. Take the opportunity to pursue the Award. I believe that doing great things in the classroom and on your Award journey will help you to find your purpose, passion, and place in the world.