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A Parent's Perspective 

by Post Oak parent Jennifer Chavis

Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.” —Lao Tzu

When I reflect on our family’s experience at Post Oak, this favorite quote of mine encapsulates our sons Brayden and Jackson’s experience as students and our adventure as parents. Our journey began here when we relocated back to Houston from an AMI school in St. Louis, Missouri. We were welcomed with open arms by administrative staff, faculty and parents alike. It wasn’t too long before I dove right into lending a hand where needed with the various volunteer opportunities as well as meeting other moms who I still have friendships with to this day. Brayden was in his third year of Lower Elementary and Jackson was in his second year of Primary. Looking back, I am reminded how each of them have enjoyed experiences that have created newfound confidence, profoundness and love.

I would like to share with you a few stories.

The Post Oak School: CREATING CONFIDENCE

Jackson came home one day, near the end of his second year, very proud of the fact that he had learned who his mentee was going to be the following year. His whole face lit up in excitement as he shared with me what this role would require of him and how he couldn’t wait to help his new friend adapt to his new classroom.

This story was music to my ears as we both knew that it was just a short time ago when Jackson himself was very shy and reluctant to share his feelings. In addition, he required continued support in articulating his needs with work in the classroom. My husband Cliff and I marveled at the transformation during his three-year cycle with Orly Kluk as she patiently worked with him, making learning fun, but challenging, honing in on his innate skills first before guiding him to skill sets that proved more difficult, allowing him speaking opportunities during class performances and being not only his teacher, but his friend. The two of them gained each other’s trust and a bond was formed.

The Post Oak School: CREATING PROFOUNDNESS

Then there is Brayden and his experience as an Upper Elementary and Middle School student took advantage of the opportunity to participate in Montessori Model United Nations, guided by the ever-so-patient teachers Mr. and Mrs. Pinto. I witnessed a young boy coming into adolescence with questions and the fortitude to find the answers to these questions. Two years, two committees, two topics. I watched him work diligently every week in preparation to understand the needs and rights of others so that he and his fellow delegates could present and debate these issue in the hopes of their resolutions being passed.

I know that it was this experience that sparked many conversations between us regarding life. One particular conversation he says, “Mom, you know I don’t understand people who talk about wanting change, because until you decide to do something about it, how can you expect change to happen?” He then went on to discuss some of the issues he felt strongly about and how he himself could see change happening if the solutions he was proposing were implemented.

The Post Oak School: CREATING LOVE

Brayden and Jackson have both loved being a part of the many volunteer initiatives at the school, benefiting various local and global charities. I recall Jackson coming home one day and sharing all that he had learned about Malayka House, an orphanage in Uganda. I could tell that the information he had learned about this orphanage had impacted him in such a way that he now felt empowered to share what the orphanage’s needs were and support the cause. On another day, Brayden, who was in Middle School at the time, came home and shared that earlier that morning, at his weekly volunteer assignment the little boy he had been paired with had missed him when he was absent the previous week. Brayden said, “Mom it made me feel sad that he missed me but I also realized how much he looks forward to me spending time with him. He’s my little buddy and I look forward to spending time with him too.”

So after these wonderful Elementary and Middle School experiences, two years ago we were at a crossroads regarding Brayden’s high school education. Let me take you back five years ago in a room like this at a Post Oak Parents Association dinner. I found myself engaged in a conversation with another parent, a Middle School teacher, and John Long, discussing how sad it would be to have to leave after Middle School. Wouldn’t it be great to have a Post Oak High School? Well, three years ago, as most of you are aware, the High School arrived. Middle School students and parents alike are now faced with a decision: to apply out, or to stay. The Post Oak High School is now a viable option so why was there the desire to look elsewhere? Why was there a feeling that there is a school out there that would be better? Brayden’s thought was that maybe he would like to entertain the idea of a larger environment. And so another journey began; the high school application process; a learning experience for all of us. After Brayden submitted three applications and received acceptance letters to two, he decided on his own that the POHS was the best fit for him. He wasn’t leaving and according to him, there were four factors that helped make this decision. Upon visiting and spending time at the high school, he felt a sense of community, it was an environment where he could express himself and be heard, the opportunity to engage in real world experiences such as interning at the Medical Center, and “Mr. Moudry is a really nice guy, I like him.”

Brayden’s high school experience since then? A teenager who is thriving in an environment that is preparing him for life in the real world upon graduation. Continuous collaboration with his teachers regarding his work as well as constructive feedback. Roundtable discussions with his peers on topics that are relevant to their work and presentations of new ideas based on their respective interests. A teenager who after one semester answered the question posed by me of what are the characteristics of a POHS student? “A student who is proactive, able to self direct and willing to be challenged.” Listening to Brayden remind us at his student-led conference that he would like the opportunity to intern in the Medical Center resulted in support and preparation from his teachers for his interview with a cardiothoracic surgeon. Brayden secured himself a one-year internship beginning next year at Memorial Herman’s Heart and Vascular Institute. It will be part of his science curriculum. And maybe the most important of all, watching the larger environment Brayden wanted expand right before his eyes and his own realization that he does have a busy social calendar with his peers enjoying each other outside of the classroom.

A sense of community, an environment where you can express yourself and be heard, real world experiences. Oh, and Brayden still likes Mr. Moudry, and thinks he’s a nice guy.

As you can see, our children Brayden and Jackson are both benefiting from the environment created by The Post Oak School and Cliff and I as parents our proud and thankful to be a part of this UNIQUE and wonderful community.