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Esperanza Academy: The Value of Risk

by Jadi Taveras, Head of School for Esperanza Academy, Rumbo News

With summer spinning to a close and the start of the school year upon us, it’s worth pausing to contemplate where Esperanza has been and also where we’re headed as a community. Recently, I came across this quote by the poet Diane Ackerman that reveals so much of what I find exhilarating about Esperanza’s journey.


Where there is no risk, the emotional terrain is flat and unyielding, and despite all its dimensions, valleys, pinnacles, and detours, life will seem to have none of its magnificent geography, only a length.


We all have different relationships and comfort levels with the idea of risk- some of us averse to failure, some of us motivated by what’s possible. At the core of Esperanza’s creation were compassion, faith, determination, and ultimately, risk. Throwing caution to the wind, a group of visionaries came together in 2005 and created a school that would transform the lives of girls from Lawrence for years to come. The path was uncertain, but their moral imperative and visceral determination got them through the finish line in their mission to start a tuition-free, lottery-based, all-girls middle school in Lawrence. For so many of us who are involved in Esperanza, the emotional geography of our lives is far richer than we could have imagined because of the relationship to Esperanza students and our mission.


With the completion of our summer program on July 31st, I reached the end of my first year as head of school. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for those original founders and the risk that they took.



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