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This post is part of a series on 21st-century skills and how Wilmington Montessori School students are prepared in these areas, starting from an early age. View the introductory post.

Meerkat Theatre15Perseverance, self-direction, planning, self-discipline, adaptability, and initiative

Leadership, teamwork, collaboration, cooperation

This week, the 21st-century skills of self-direction, planning, leadership and teamwork were in the forefront of my mind as I attended the Eagle Scout ceremony for Wilmington Montessori School alumnus Nathaniel Ruhl. This young man has accomplished what few others do in achieving the rank of Eagle Scout. What makes it even more remarkable is that he is 15 years old; most young men who have this as a goal hope to accomplish it in their 18th year. Nathaniel worked hard to make this happen well before then.

As you may know, Nathaniel and his team worked to repair the Meerkat Theatre, the stage and seating in our woods, and to mark the trail leading to the stage. He proposed this project to us last winter and spent a great deal of time working behind the scenes to prepare for the workdays that ensued. Nathaniel moved from a “follower to a leader,” which is a stated goal of obtaining the rank of Eagle. He learned how to manage a team, collaborate with his mentors and leaders and make this project happen.

At the ceremony last week, Nathaniel credited WMS for making him who he is: “My advice for other scouts that want to become an Eagle Scout is to stick with it, work hard in Scouts, and pick a project that you are passionate about and that you really want to make a difference for the beneficiary. I wanted to do my project for WMS because it is a great school and it has shaped who I have become. It was also fun to do my project because I was excited about helping and how it could turn out. I want WMS to use the new theater and I want kids to have a great experience at WMS.”

Now, we all know that many other things contributed to this. Each step of the way his family encouraged, supported and worked side-by-side with him to make this project happen. What we also know is that Nathaniel learned how to plan, direct his own learning, persevere, work with teams, collaborate with peers and adults alike, and lead as a student at WMS. He took those skills, challenged himself to meet the criteria for Eagle Scout and did it!

Our students have the opportunity to learn these skills in a safe and nurturing environment. They plan their time and their work, persevere when things are difficult, practice teamwork and collaborate with students and teachers throughout their time here. They establish their goals and work hard to meet them. Nathaniel’s work is one example of how these 21st-century skills evolve and contribute to success. Current students and alumni experience many others. They are prepared to enter the educational and employment opportunities that await them.