As the holiday season approaches, I find myself deeply grateful that we are here. There is truly no place I’d rather be than at LCA — in this bustling building filled with committed teachers and energetic students. Most of us are learning together physically. That opportunity comes with new routines and responsibilities. Some of us connect remotely. That opportunity comes with new technology and patience.
I am often asked what it means to be an IB World School. There is simply no way to answer that in one sentence. But I do believe that a central characteristic to a true IB World School is an ongoing openness to growth. What does growth really mean? And what does it feel like?
As anyone who has worked or learned at LCA can attest, growth is often the result of discomfort. Those who learn in our community are not promised an easy chair, rather they are promised a ladder. And given the ladder, they climb. With aching muscles they ascend. Our new reality has demanded that we develop new skills to become masterful climbers. Even the smallest moments of our day have changed, and that reality has truly exercised our brain.
The ability of the brain to form and reorganize is known as neuroplasticity. Stanford University brain expert David Eagleman believes that this challenging new reality is good for our brain. “Our brains typically make a model of the world so they can operate efficiently in it,” Eagleman says. “The Covid pandemic has knocked us all off our paths of least resistance, such that our brains are forced to rethink everything…But the tiny silver lining is that getting knocked off your path of least resistance is the best thing that can happen to your brain in terms of plasticity.” Our mental gymnastics, while often exhausting, do pay off in the long run.
We do not walk this journey alone. All across the world, teachers and students are creatively adapting. The common sentiment seems to be a deep desire for growth. And, as an IB World School, we honor that passion.
I invite you to take time to view and read content on our IB web page. This page is where you will find LCA IB newsletter issues, including our most recent compilation that tells the story of 2020 thus far. You will also find our four IB MYP Policies which, through reflection and collaboration, have been recently updated. Implicitly and explicitly referenced in our policies is our commitment to fostering growth. A hunger for growth is at the center of what it means to thrive at Lakewood Catholic Academy. And for that, I am grateful.
Be a Saint!
Eileen Murphy McGuire
Dean of the IB Program