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The construct of power from the lens of an ISDenver 8th grader

A Lang + Lit project to define the construct of power helps paint a portrait of the ISDenver Middle Schooler.

Katie Kroeger

When asked what we do as a school, I can boil it down into a single sentence. 

We are building a more compassionate and curious world, one student at a time.

But more than an idealistic mantra, compassion and curiosity are the outcomes of our unique equation of immersion education within the International Baccalaureate framework. 

Our 8th grade Lang + Lit students just finished a mashup project with the Visual Arts. They were given the task of defining the construct of power and illustrating a symbol to complement their definition.

As is so often the case with our students, I was taken aback by the beauty of the responses. I want to share one with you today:

To me power is the ability to have control. Control over my work, control over my body, control over myself. To me, power is communicating, and kindness. To me, power is the ability to be a higher person and have integrity. To me, power is accepting others and myself. To me, power is freedom. To me, power is being able to wear what I want, to have confidence. To me, power is being able to speak up for myself, others and even when I'm struggling being able to work through it. To me, power is caring and supporting others, making people feel loved. When we think about power, a lot of us associate that with money, wealth, and being privileged. Which is true, a lot of people who have these traits are considered “powerful”, however money or wealth or privilege can’t buy or get any of the things I listed above. And that fact right there, is something I find so fascinating, interesting, so powerful. A lot of us think power is something that is earned, something you get it you’re lucky, however everyone has power, it’s just if we choose to use it or not, if we choose to see it. Maybe we don’t have power over other people, but we have power over ourselves, which I think we take for granted sometimes. If we could all learn and realize that power is way deeper than just money and dominance, we could all become more powerful.

When I was trying to come up with a symbol for power, something that popped up in my mind were flowers. Flowers to me can be misconceived sometimes. People take them for granted, walking by them every day without noticing them. Which makes sense, there are so many flowers in the world, if we had to acknowledge every single one it would be nearly impossible. But if once a day, we would maybe just acknowledge one flower, I think we would realize the true beauty of it, and how lucky we are to have flowers. Now, if you re-read that, and switch the word “flowers” with “power”, it’s the same. Power is like flowers, beautiful, but sometimes taken for granted, and not appreciated as much as it should. And that’s why it is part of my symbol, along with two people holding hands and a heart. When we think of power, we sometimes automatically assume it’s negative and bad. Sometimes it is, however, there's beauty in power too, as long as it belongs to someone who can respect that.

Our students make telling our story of creating a more compassionate and curious world easy for me.

The ability at thirteen-years-old to grapple with a traditionally understood concept of power and flip it on its head in such a beautiful way paints the picture of the ISDenver student. Smart. Thoughtful. Curious. Nonconformist.  It makes me so proud. It makes me hopeful.

If you are curious about our Middle School, I'd love to chat. Connect with me here!

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