"Here Be Dragons."
Or "hic sunt dracones" in Latin.
It is also the chosen mascot for Acton Academy Fort Lauderdale, but that story requires some explanation. Anyone familiar with the Acton Academy story will know that the original campus is Austin, Texas is known as the Acton Academy Eagles.
And that is an apt moniker for a learner-driven community that is focused on helping children spread their own wings of independence and responsibility. Students are able to soar, and nest together. It is also an appropriate shoutout to the spirit of the American Eagle, chosen by our Founding Fathers who were willing to put their own lives on the line, in the pursuit of happiness and freedom.
But for our Hero's, we chose Dragons and for a number of good reasons.
- Yes - Dragons are also able to soar (like the Eagles) and roar as well
- They also come in all shapes and sizes (much like our students), each with their own strengths and weaknesses that make them meaningfully unique
- Symbolically, dragons often represent our deepest fears and the need to move beyond our comfort zone, to the unexplored edges of the map
- Yet in many stories it is the Hero who is tasked with slaying the terrible dragon to save the town or a helpless princess.
This last point is NOT one that we subscribe to in our love of Dragons.
Instead, we espouse the story of Hiccup Haddock the Third, and his Dragon Toothless (from DreamWork's How To Train Your Dragon series) who by OVERCOMING his fear, changed the future of his own world in true Hero's Journey fashion.
Our hope is that each of our Hero's (let them choose to be a Dragon or the Dragon Rider) will equally be able to embrace that growth out our comfort zone. By facing the things we fear the most (the symbolic dragons), we are then able to befriend this shadow side to become more of who we are meant to be. Thus we each become our own 'Dragon Rider' and Hero of our Journey.
If you are not immediately familiar with the stages of the Hero's Journey, you have seen them plaly out a thousand times in books, movies, and campfire stories. From Hiccup to Harry, Ron, and Hermione, to Luke and Rey, the Hero's Journey is how we grow into the indepenent, free thinking leaders that our communities need and deserve.
It is only by making the long, hard journey... making friends along the way, and ultimately facing our greatest fears (making friends with our dragons) that we can complete each our our Hero's Journey.
At Acton Academy we believe that every that every child (and family) who enters our doors will find their own calling that will change the world.
Stop and consider your own Hero's Journey:
- What is the 'Dragon' that you fear the most?
- What might lay beyond that resistance/fear?
- Who might you become when you learn how to be a 'Dragon Rider' in your own world?
- What are your unique strengths and attributes that make you unlike any other 'Dragon' in the world around you?
What Do You Want Most For Your Child When He Or She Is 18 And Ready To Go Out Into The World?