After a hayride, Eagles gathered by fireside for s’mores and the first of two ceremonies to close out the year.
Eagles had been asked earlier to draw avatars of themselves. One by one, each Eagle placed his or her avatar in the fire, a act signifying that a mask prepared for the outside world was far less important than your true self.
Just before dinner, each Eagle was asked to collect five objects that stood for a role that mattered to them: Son or Daughter; Brother or Sister; Dancer; Athlete; Actress; Friend. They carried their sacred objects to the campfire.
Heroes often have to make difficult choices and tradeoffs. This night, one by one, Eagles were asked to choose the least important role and throw it into the fire. Then, the second most important role; then the third. With each completion of the circle, the decision became more difficult, as roles like “Friend” or “Brother” that were precious, had to be given up.
The mood was somber; the decisions were being taken very seriously, by serious people, who understood that their lives would matter. Finally, it was down to two roles, one of which had to be thrown into the fire, before declaring the most important role you held in your hand.
Which role was left? For two Eagles, it was “servant to God.” For another: “Compassion.” Still another: “A meaningful life as a hero.” We heard the pledge to be “a good fellow traveler” and another to “make a real difference.” Each Eagle held in his or her hand a role that meant the world to them.
The words were beautiful to hear. Nothing you would ever expect from a group of young adults. After it was over, both Guides were speechless, blessed to have been observers.
Later, one Guide turned to the other: “I have tried to convince myself that these are just ordinary young people – but after what I saw tonight, there’s no way I can still believe that.”
Later that night there would be poker, wagering with points earned earlier in the day, learning more about probabilities and human nature. Plus watching Jurassic Park and playing pranks late into the early morning hours.
Then up at 6 AM for a silent sunrise reflection on a nearby mountaintop: the steep climb reminding each Eagle of how far he or she had come in the last year; the forty mile views a preview of how far each could go.
Each Eagle would leave his or her final symbol on the mountaintop, as a promise to themselves and their fellow travelers of what they would hold most dear.
Acton Academy is open to all students; Acton Academy accepts only gifted students; gifted students with beautiful souls.