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Stoke Your Fire

David Racine, FVS Dean of Students

“We don't look backward for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we're curious...and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”
The end of the school year is finally here. Now what? Looking back on the school year, you have conquered tests, papers, projects, and all that life has thrown at you. You have experienced many victories and at times failures. All of these experiences are due to your yearning to grow as an intellectual and as a person in pursuit of discovering more meaning in life. Curiosity is an attitude you have chosen to embrace, and it is a part of the fabric of your identity. As an educational institution, it goes without saying that Fountain Valley School values curiosity. It is an important trait for any student to succeed in an academic environment, for as Einstein once said, “Curiosity is more important than knowledge.” Curiosity is the state of active interest or genuinely wanting to know more about something, which allows you to embrace unfamiliar circumstances, giving you a greater opportunity to experience discovery and joy. Now that the school year has concluded, I urge you to stoke your fire and continue to explore your curiosities.

Throughout the spring, you have had to take on a new level of ownership of your education. Virtual learning is no easy task. Without the daily one-on-one guidance from teachers, advisers, coaches, and your peers, you have been left to your own faculties. This level of independent learning and curiosity will serve you well as a student and later in your careers and will only bring you joy. As you begin your summer vacation, here are a few ways in which you can hone your curiosity:

  • Read- Reading opens your mind to new possibilities, ideas, and worlds, sparking your interest to explore and wander. As Emily Dickinson said, “There is no frigate like a book.”
  • Don’t Be Afraid - Curiosity is the perfect counterweight to fear and anxiety. Be optimistic and approach every experience with the intention to gain something positive from it.
  • Ask Questions - It is not only okay not to know something; it is better. Only then will you be able to learn something new. Asking questions is the first step in seeking knowledge.
  • Keep an Open Mind - Be open to learn, unlearn, and relearn. Some things you know and believe might be wrong, and you should be prepared to accept this possibility and change your mind.

Curiosity is the choice you make to dig deeper to learn and understand the world around you. Realizing that there is more to learn about everyone and everything is the first step to discovering your purpose and joy in life. Curiosity will expand your mind and open doors to new opportunities:

“As the story grew, it put down roots into the past and threw out unexpected branches” (The Fellowship of the Ring). Spread your branches and reach for the sky for all the possibilities that await you. For the graduated seniors, your curiosity has served you well, and it will continue to serve you in your next chapter. Do not let your fear inhibit your curiosity or impede your journey: “Always in the big woods when you leave familiar ground and step off alone into a new place, there will be, along with the feelings of curiosity and excitement, a little nagging of dread. It is the ancient fear of the Unknown, and it is your first bond with the wilderness you are going into” -(Wendell Berry).
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