Hawks for the Hawks

I am so proud to be a teacher at Innovation Academy. Our students’ successes were recently celebrated at Friday’s art show and written up in the Lowell Sun.

Graduating seniors this year are heading off to schools like Brown, Columbia, and Boston University, and many of these students are the first generation in their family to attend college. Since our high school is relatively new, we are gearing up for our second graduation ever on June 16th. As students like Shannon and Jenzel (pictured here) accept their diplomas, I will be remembering their accomplishments when they were 11 years old in my homebase.

What makes me most proud is that students at Innovation Academy are not waiting until they graduate to work for change. In fact, a group of middle school students saw a problem recently and took immediate action to fight for the needs of our planet. The numerous middle school students organized themselves into the “Lorax Society” to fight for protection of the trees that were being cut down to build athletic facilities at our school.  The Hawks (our school mascot) haven’t had proper fields or a track to practice on, and so we are currently building a new facility, which will be complete with a state of the art soccer field, track, and even a snack shack.  Some IACS students worry about the red-tailed hawks that could lose their homes due to the land being cleared, and began communicating online about their concerns.

Students mobilized, and pretty soon, they were able to meet with Walter Landberg, the Executive Director of Innovation Academy, to discuss the expansion in person.  He listened carefully to the students’ perspectives, and also told them more about the expansion initiative.  He pointed out how the school is tearing down 5 acres now, but working to protect over a hundred more acres of forest that we own.

Innovation on Earth is a website about building global citizenship, and it’s clear that these students are seeing themselves and their school, Innovation Academy, as a part of a larger world community.  They are putting the needs of others, in this case the animals, above their own. While seeing the trees come down is heart breaking, the dedication of these students is beautiful:

Back in elementary school, many of us were taught that there are two sides to every issue: good vs. evil or wrong vs. right.  As we get older, we learn that issues are more complicated.  While these trees will be missed, the benefit to the school will be huge.  We want to offer our students the best educational facility possible, and that means we need to make space for this growth. We need to show our community membership by supporting this project and helping our school to grow.  I am equally proud of those who supported the expansion.  Our school community has raised over $50,000 to benefit this project, and that’s good citizenship too. Mr. MacKinnon’s speech at the groundbreaking ceremony said it best: this facility will give us “the ability to invite others into our community and demonstrate to them the exemplary citizenship that Innovation Academy instills in all of its members.”  Check it out:

Can we be good community members at Innovation Academy who support our school AND be good global citizens who protect our forests? Students, we are looking to you to show us how it’s done.

7 replies »

  1. wow!!
    i’m happy for the students who worked really hard to protect our forests. you’re right, everyone SHOULD work hard to save and help the Earth, while still helping their local community (ex. our school)! i’ll miss the trees too. 😥
    but i think Lovinia did a great job at the Interview!! Go Lovinia!! 😀
    and we’ve still got some hope because of the picture of the possible Red-Tailed Hawk you got Ms. Krakauer!
    i hope the forest will get saved, along with all the animals within it.
    remember! it won’t hurt to have a little hope!!
    – anna

  2. ways to help the forest, and our school:

    – ONLY cut down the amount of trees needed
    – bring the animals to a safer place, so they don’t get hurt
    – get a permit before cutting down the trees
    – make everything the same as before as much as possible (forest, etc.)
    – continue to raise money (IACA)
    – help people who do sports, AND help the forest
    – be kind to everyone (even if the people who are doing something you REALLY don’t like)
    – support what you believe (mostly)

    that’s about all the ideas i can get.
    hope it helps!
    – anna

  3. Guys. as founder of Hawks For Hawks, i am SO proud of all you for not giving up. This group is exceptional and wonderful and inspiring. Most kids like us would give up when the land is cleared. No. These kids are more than just kids. We are people. People who CAN make a change. No matter what people say, don’t give up. The first day of the petition, people teased me all day about saving the trees. “The poor trees, Edith is gonna save all all the trees” they mocked. I was almost ready to give up, but then, I got the first signature. And then 5, 12, 15 20! It wasn’t done. We skyrocketed to 25. 30 and now 36 people and possibly more. If it weren’t for you guys, nothing would have happened at all. Thank you everyone, for being some one who cares.
    -Edith C

  4. I am so proud to be part of such a wonderful community at Innovation. The thoughtfulness and kind hearted students are an amazing group of young citizens who care about so much more at their ages than a lot of adults in our world. They see the forrest through the trees and take the initiative to stand up for their beliefs. With this attitude now, there’s no stopping them in the years to come! Keep fighting for your convictions, for you are all Hawks and will soar high.

  5. Thank you students for caring and for not just letting things happen without taking into consideration the other creatures who share this earth. Keep up the good work. It is not easy, but you can make a difference!

  6. This is a really great entry. Thanks Sara for intergrating all the information and providing all the links and videos. Thanks also to the Lorax Group- Watching all those trees go down this spring has been really sad. I’m so glad you guys are working on offsetting some of that. This is truly a wonderful community!

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