Dear Friends of CITYterm,
CITYtem is often a life-changing experience for the students that attend. This is a bold statement; and yet, as I read recent student testimonials and talk to alumni, I know clearly and unequivocally that the program’s impact is substantial. Sam Higgins (CITYterm F’11, Episcopal School of Dallas 2013), reflects on his own transformative experience in this way: “Before CITYterm, I used to ask “what?” and now I ask “why?” I love this quote because it succinctly reflects the shift that occurs when CITYterm students become the authors of their own learning. This move –to empowered author and learner – exemplifies our mission.
Beyond the impact we have on individual students, CITYterm is also making significant contributions to the broader world of education. As a laboratory school that has designed many successful pedagogical and curricular experiments over the past sixteen years, we are furthering a growing understanding about the power of experience-based education. Through our Teaching for Experience workshop, we have collaborated with more than 100 teachers from across the country to share the principles behind CITYterm. In many cases, the schools that send teachers to our workshop or students to CITYterm are adopting elements of experience-based pedagogy in their own programs. We are dedicated to continuing to share what we have learned and to broadening our impact.
Rainer Marie Rilke wrote in Letters to a Young Poet that we should not search for the answers, but should – instead – live the questions. As alumni will remember, Rilke wrote: “Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.” This idea – that we should live the questions – has been one of the foundational, enduring premises of CITYterm since its inception. Rilke’s words have been spoken at many morning meetings and closing ceremonies as a rallying message to go out and author one’s life. Now – as our alumni community nears 1,000 members – we are beginning to see what students are doing as adult authors. We are seeing alumni from New York to Scotland, from South Africa to San Francisco living the questions and asking “why” in a variety of sectors - the arts, education, law and business. Weekly postcards, emails and Facebook messages float back to Dobbs Ferry. And with each note my confidence is buoyed even more: CITYterm matters.
I welcome you to join fellow alumni, parents and friends of the program in giving to our annual fund. Your generous donation allows us to continue to create a program that has a meaningful impact on individual participants and on the educational community at large. Further, your support is an important statement, a public acknowledgement that you agree that CITYterm matters.
Thank you for your support and your engagement in our community.
Erica Chapman, F’99
Director, CITYterm at The Masters School