#9- March Retreat-What’s the Story Experience

What’s the Story (WtS) is the most unique program that I have experienced. It is an immersive course that pushes you to do things that you have never done before. Unlike in a typical school, WtS focuses on mostly working in an untethered environment that allows you room to grow while also giving you a push in the right direction. I believe that this type of learning is more effective because it allows people to move at their own pace and gives people the option to do more. Using this strategy allows you to blend with others in the program and make connections that you normally would not have.

Since WtS involves students from all around Vermont, you are able to meet new people and that helps make a diverse, but a connected community. Meeting new people and experiencing new things with them has allowed me to become more confident and outgoing. Meeting new people at the start of the year and slowly connecting more with them has really helped me find out more about myself by going out of my comfort zone. Doing WtS is different than doing a regular school curriculum, instead of meeting every day or every week, we meet monthly and stay in touch by using technology like Slack while having prompts to think deeply about our learning. WtS, unlike most schools, allow you to choose a project that you feel strongly about and really explore it for a long time. The thing about WtS is that every student cares, is dedicated to their work, and strives to do their best unlike in a regular school atmosphere where you may have a mix of hard workers and people who couldn’t care less. Having other people who work hard is really nice because having a good work ethic can really drive a team and make it better.

I am part of the Income Inequality group and we are looking to inform people of the effects of income inequality, specifically on education. Our mission statement is: We want to educate people specifically teachers, administrators, and students, on the vast effects of income inequality on education. Prior to WtS, I didn’t know much about how income inequality affected education, but now I know that it plays a big part in kid’s futures. Being part of my group has given me experiences that I normally would not have had if I was in school. Our group has interviewed influential people who have the power to make a change. Some of the people we interviewed we Senator Bernie Sanders and Lieutenant Governor David Zuckermann. These interviews have really helped our group because they allowed us to meet very important people while also learning about their stance on certain issues. Being part of my team has really helped me improve my collaboration skills. I used to not work with other people very well, but now in What’s the Story and school, I am able to take my teammates thinking and use it to make our end product better. I like my group a lot and I think that finding ways that we can work together has really helped me.

I think that What’s the Story is a great experience, and some types people who should apply are: people who want to make a change, people who are interested in film making, people who want to educate others, people who like to learn, and people who want to do more.

Gabe Nelson

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