My high school was the best educational experience of my life. I grew so much during my four years at Linworth as my teachers encouraged me to think outside the box and find meaning in what I was learning. I couldn't be more grateful for the experience I had at the Linworth Alternative Program.
Even now, years after graduation, the experience has stayed with me. Linworth is a school based on equality between students and teachers (we call our instructors by their first names), complete democracy in the student government (which consists of the entire school body), experiential learning (I spent half my senior year in an intern-style capacity in my own area of choice), and total responsibility (you do something properly stupid, you get kicked out). There's nothing else like Linworth in the world, and I will always be proud to be a Linworthian graduate.
Wayne, in particular, left quite a mark in my memories. His no-nonsense attitude coupled with a genuine desire to see his students do well was extremely valuable to me. Sure, he often made you feel extremely stupid when you opened your mouth, but the way he pushed us revealed that want for us to do better and never stop bettering ourselves. And very occasionally, he'd drop us a little treat (I once found a magazine in my school mailbox from Wayne because he thought I'd find it interesting.) Particularly when senior year rolled around, Wayne encouraged us to do great things and think big when it came to Walkabout, the program that lets us choose a field of learning outside the classroom and actually experience the 'real world' while we were still students. It was his encouragement that made me step outside of my comfort zone and leave the states to pursue my interests. And I never regretted it.
Wayne made us write journal entries during every single day of our Walkabout. He would constantly tell us how important it is to write about what happens to us. And although it was an assignment, writing these journal entries helped me see past the surface of what I was doing and witness my own growth throughout the experience. Every day I would be forced to stop and really think about what was happening to me. It's the best form of therapy there is, and it tuned my senses to see the impact Walkabout was having on me as it happened, rather than reflecting on it afterward.
Even now, years later, the name Wayne Harvey still has a vital role in my vocabulary, as does Linworth. Linworth was the place where I learned to actually think for myself and never believe anything at face value. Linworth showed me who I truly was, rather than the facade I had built up during my early teenage years. Linworth made me who I am today, and I'm proud of the person I've become.
So thank you, Linworth. Thank you, Wayne, for everything you've done for Linworth and its students, both present and past. I wish I could come say goodbye, but there's a small body of water between us preventing it. I think it's called the Atlantic Ocean. But regardless of the time and space between us, consider yourself hugged and thanked. You're an amazing director, teacher, and person, and I hope life treats you well after Linworth. Farewell, my friend.
Causes Maria Badillo Supports
Foundation to Decrease WorldSuck