An InspirEd School

October 7, 2016 — Brewster is an inspirED school.

InspirED is a collaboration among the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, Facebook, and Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation. It’s a movement sparked by student voices: tens of thousands of high school students were asked how they felt in school and how they hoped to feel. The majority of students said they felt tired, stressed, and bored. However, when asked how they would like to feel, students said things like “happy,” “inspired,” and “respected”. This discrepancy between how students were actually feeling and how they wanted to feel was a call to action and the driving force behind the creation of inspirED.

Through open dialogue and reflection, Brewster students discovered they wanted to feel passion and purpose within the community.

Dexter Hanson ’17 (Wolfeboro), a founding member of Brewster’s inspirED club invited his classmate Paul Ritchie ’17 (Dallas) to join the club. When it came time to develop a project (PBL) for the end of the year project period, the two decided to take Brewster’s key words – passion and purpose – and put them to good work. Bella Valinoti ’17 (Exeter, New Hampshire) then joined the PBL team.

Their project turned into a presentation on activities designed to empower and inspire students to think about their passions and find purpose. Researchers from the Yale Center for Emotional Literacy traveled to Wolfeboro and filmed their May presentation. And just recently their “speed dating” activity was published on the inspirED website.

“Speed dating was a cumulative thought from all of three of us,” Ritchie explained. “We practiced the idea with a focus group of demographically diverse students and they really liked it, and this year Team Skelley used the activity in their orientation,” he added.

“Our thoughts were to get a lot of activities ranging from 10 to 60 minutes. The more you talk about passion and purpose the more likely you are to get excited about your passion, he explained. “In an advisory group we did an activity where people wrote down their passion, how they discovered it, and why they still do. We were really just trying to spark a campus conversation. If people are in a rut with their mood, it can provide the catalyst to get out of it.”

And now other inspirED schools can take their activity and utilize it in their learning environments.