By Renée Lemieux.
One campus, two schools, and a path towards strengthening community. The Studio opened their walls to welcome in small groups of middle school students these past few months and the outcome has been life-altering.
Renaissance Academy and Mathson Lee Middle School share one campus, use the same space for lunch, basketball, field sports, and extracurricular activities, although during the school day students follow their bell schedules, limiting the time they see one another. Many students know each other from elementary years and often want to spend time with one another, while other students are very separated. Both schools have come together this school year to work towards instilling self-confidence and self-love, while supporting peer-to-peer communication within the community.
A powerful partnership has developed with The Studio, Renaissance and Mathson Middle Schools. About once a month since October, small groups of students from both schools have come together to venture off to The Studio, exploring interests and fears.
With many students who live in San Jose yet rarely travel downtown, the excitement was bursting out of the cars on the way to the gym as students have many thoughts running through their minds. The goal is simple: Do your best, set a goal and reach that goal. Some students would climb to the top of the wall the first time, while others would make it a quarter of the way by the end of the two hours. The most influential part of the experience was getting the chance to hear the students from the two different schools supporting one another and encouraging each other to reach their goal.
The gratitude felt from Renaissance and Mathson Middle school staff and students burns bright with each opportunity to bringing rock climbing experiences to as many students in the community as possible. As 2020 quickly approaches the partnership continues to grow strong, all while supporting the main goal: Strengthening community and providing healthy opportunities to youth.
“I want to work at the rock climbing gym in a few years.”
–Mathson Lee student
“I can’t wait to come back here and bring my family!”