Monthly Archives: May 2015

Texas Sized Heroes

cem 5

What is the purpose of  a cemetery?

That was the question for our Friday outing to the Texas State Cemetery, where some of our most famous Texans were laid to rest.  Walking through the trees and winding paths was like strolling through two centuries of Texas history:  Governors; Texas Rangers; War Heroes and famous Writers and Poets.

cem 1

Stephen F. Austin – the Father of Texas.

cem 4

Bigfoot Wallace – an early Texas Ranger who lived a life of honor and service.

cem 3

Three Eagles pay tribute to the fallen of 9-11.

cem 2

The final resting place of Navy Seal Chris Kyle.

An investment in an afternoon of solemn memories and gratitude.  Quite a monument to a rich history of heroes.



Were the Middle Ages Really the “Dark Ages?”

Middle ages

This session’s Civilization Quest is focused on the Middle Ages.

Were the Middle Ages really the Dark Ages?  How was daily life in a feudal society different than our own?   Did the rise of Christianity and Islam hasten the fall of Rome?  How important were Christianity and Islam to the rise of modern civilization?  Are the problems we face today echoes of the past or something new?

Were Constantine; Charlemagne and Luther heroes or not?  Was the Catholic Church a stabilizing force for good or destined to become a corrupt self serving bureaucracy?  Where the Crusades a Holy War or a poorly planned misadventure of ruffians?   Was the plague avoidable?   Could it happen again today? Should we see the Magna Carta as inevitable or an act of bravery that changed the world?

Disconnected questions?  No, simply examples of the questions Eagles drafted for their Socratic Discussions, after doing original research, watching Great Courses videos and participating in hands on simulations.


Cold Calling for Apprenticeships: A Profile in Courage


Each Eagle at Acton Academy learns to identify special gifts, find “flow” in daily work and discover irresistible opportunities, all in search of a calling that will change the world.   As part of “trying on” different callings to see if they fit, Eagles pursue, obtain and execute apprenticeships, beginning in middle school.

Last week a twelve year old Eagle asked permission from his parents to leave campus.  He walked four blocks to a hospice, paused to gather his bravery, and stepped through the door.

He found the receptionist: “Excuse me.  Do you have four minutes for me to ask you about your work here, or should I come back later when it might be more convenient?”

Assured that now was a good time, he continued with his pitch.  A minute later he found himself in a conference room in an interview.  After exactly four minutes, he prepared to take his leave, but was asked to stay longer.

By the end, our brave Eagle made a new friend in the receptionist and had two  conversations with residents who were ready to recommend him for the job, and left with  several names within the organization of those who might offer an apprenticeship.

He later told his studio mates: “Yes, it was scary at first, but now that I’ve done it once,  I’m looking forward to my next interview.  Cold calling in person is a great way to learn more about an apprenticeship and to sell yourself.”

It took a great deal of courage to walk into a hospice unannounced.  The reward?  The confidence to walk into any business and take the first step towards finding a calling.


Embracing Life; Facing Death

Body worlds

First came the Biology Quest, with hands-on challenges about DNA, evolution and the natural world.  Then the Medical Biology Quest, where Eagles practiced diagnosing real illnesses, pitched cutting edge medical research and learned about bodily systems.

Now comes the most challenging quest in the Biology series: Embracing Life; Facing Death —  six weeks of digging deeply into the physical, emotional, spiritual and practical challenges of dying.  Too much for middle and high school aged heroes to handle?  Not for our Eagles.

Last Friday’s outing was a tour of the Body Worlds exhibit, where Eagles saw plasticized corpses, displayed in a celebration of the beauty of the human body.

What is life?  What is physical death?  Are Near Death Experiences a look into the after-life or a biochemical response?  How do you perform an autopsy? Is it ethical to display  human corpses in a museum?  Real world challenges raised all of these questions in the last three weeks.

After a reverential viewing of the Body Worlds exhibition, the verdict was unanimous: a well earned outing, taking us one step closer to embracing life and bravely facing death.