We Exist to Inspire

Providence Day School exists to inspire in its students a passion for learning, a commitment to personal integrity, and a sense of social responsibility.

An independent, college preparatory school, grades Transitional Kindergarten through 12

Inspired Learning

At Providence Day, we believe the school community should maximize individual potential by encouraging new endeavors and risk-taking without fear of failure. This is one of our core values. We are an authentic place where students can take risks, make mistakes, and are taught to seek inspiration from failure. Providence Day is an environment where students are comfortable with the ideas of exploration and discovery, as the imperfect results can create moments of greater understanding and personal growth. Here are some of those moments.


HEARTS ON FIRE

Discover the disappointments that set fire to the determination of the 2017 eCYBERMISSION Charger Fire Team.


BUILDING BLOCKS

See how Prableen recovered from setbacks with the help of her team as first and fourth grade buddies team up for the Tower Challenge.


Model Behavior

Read about how Louis got a little silly for a learning moment during a Faculty/Staff TASK party.


Teacher's Pet

Learn more about how Sarah overcame her fear of creepy-crawlies in order to help bring the lessons of the Amazon back to her classroom.


Found in Translation

Follow Gil's journey as he learned not only to act, but to do so in another language.

 

Cast of character

Experience Adaora's courageous journey through Upper School theater auditions. 

 

Sink and swim 

Watch Christopher and classmates use critical thinking and collaboration to learn from their cardboard boat engineering project. 

 

 

Six broken pieces later

Read about how Caroline persevered despite challenges in her art class. 


Caroline's Inspiring Moment

 

"I was in Studio Art when I made this piece. I struggled with the piece a lot. My concept was to attach to halves of a mason jar to two paintings to give the perception of lightning bugs and a person stuck in the jars.

The first challenge was figuring out how to cut the jars in half vertically. I tried at school, but that wasn't successful. My dad looked at youtube videos and tried to cut them with yarn and fire and that didn't work either. Finally one of my guy friends helped me cut the first jar I actually used with a small circle blade he had (a drimmel diamond wheel attachment that spun and easily cut it). This worked well and I thought the challenges were over.

A few days after getting the mason jar cut, I shattered both halves when trying to carry the piece out of the building- the door slammed on them. I was really upset, and realized the project would probably be more difficult than I thought. My friend was really nice and cut another jar for me that night.

The next day in art class I secured the jars to the wood squares with super glue. I thought I had finally finished with project after so many struggles with the mason jars. Mr. Wallace asked me to attach wall hangers on the back so my piece could be part of the spring art show. I tried to gently hammer the attachments on the back. The jars fell off the front of my piece.

I felt like I was about to cry but I swept up the pieces and made a new plan: I would finish nailing in the back attachment and then glue on the mason jars, this took away the risk of them falling when nailing the wall hanger on. I cut a new mason jar and attached it and my piece was finally finished.


I think the main thing I learned during this project is that a lot of difficulties will come during pieces like this, but I have to keep trying and persevering and it will come together in the end.

I also taught myself to never sacrifice my initial vision of a project when problems get in the way, because there is always a way to problem solve and make it work. I am now always ready to expect challenges in projects and ready to bounce back and adjust - I must think about the idea in many different ways to find the ideal fix. It was definitely frustrating at the time, but the problem solving part of art is one of my favorite parts- the difficult and creative decisions that go into each piece make the work a lot more interesting. It always feels more rewarding and exciting to finish a piece that had lots of obstacles than finishing a piece that was easy and smooth sailing." - Caroline

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Christopher's and Will's Inspiring Moments

 

"Although we sank, it was a great experience and I wish I could try again. I learned from this experience that I should have made the bottom of the boat bigger. In have several ideas what I would do different next time around. I am eager to try again and hope in the future I get an opportunity to do so." - Christopher

"Reflecting back on the trip to the white water center, I remember feeling happy as we first launched our boat that we were able to leave the dock.  I soon learned that duct tape was not as strong as I hoped when our boat began to sink.  I also learned that not succeeding is just as much fun and you can learn from it. Thinking about it now, I am a little bit disappointed because I thought that we could have gone farther. I wanted to try again but our boat had ripped in half so going again would have been a bit of a challenge. The group that did do well put garbage bags on their boat and that seemed to work, so we were able to learn from each other." - Will (Christopher’s classmate and boat project partner) 

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Adaora's Inspiring Moment

 

"When I decided to audition for Eurydice, I was originally only going to audition for the title role with no intention of participating in the show as any other character. I changed my mind when, during auditions, we were asked to read different characters, and we were given varying scenarios in which to play them in. That's when I decided I might as well accept any role I was given, even if it wasn't Eurydice, because I knew that that the experience would be fun regardless and it was a good opportunity for me to develop as an actress.

I wasn't one hundred percent certain, but I had a strong feeling I would be cast as Loud Stone because they asked me to read for that character three times during auditions. I've never actually been cast in a role that I originally auditioned for, but every time I play a new character, I realize that the director chose me for that role for a reason. Acting as a different person can really teach you a lot about yourself.

Throughout my theater experience at Providence Day, I've learned to approach auditions with an open mind. Sometimes the character that I'm dead set on portraying isn't always the best role for me, and it's more important for me to work with the role I've been given and play that character with as much depth and complexity as I possibly can.

Hopefully I'll get to a point someday when I can know which character in a show I'm best suited to play and maybe then I'll get the part I actually audition for. Until then, I'll continue to grow as an actor and use every audition as an opportunity to learn something new." - Adaora

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Gil's Inspiring Moment



"To be honest, a lot of the process in creating the play was not very easy or enjoyable. A lot of times it would be very hard to do, as Spanish is a struggle for me, but I've also never acted before.

I often doubted a lot of things that we decided in class because I wasn't sure that this was a good idea for a play until we actually performed it. I did what I had to do though, no matter how I felt about it, and it paid off. Performing the play was so much fun. As soon as we got our first laugh from the audience, the mood for our class lightened and we all had a lot of fun while acting, and everyone seemed to enjoy it. 

I learned that I am capable of acting and I was actually a very important member to the team in all aspects. I definitely gained some confidence by doing the play. I will be way more comfortable the next time I have to perform something in front of an audience; I was extremely nervous beforehand. I also gained relationships with the people in my class in a way that is abnormal from normal classroom learning. 

Overall I think that it was a very valuable experience and I would surprisingly really enjoy to do something similar in the future (at the beginning of the class I swore that I would hate everything about the play and performing it). I thank Mr. Baron for pushing me to keep trying even when I clearly lacked motivation for the play and the class as a whole. I'm now very excited for the next play that we are currently planning." - Gil

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Sarah's Inspiring Moment



While learning about Providence Day School, I was inspired by the fact that as a community we not only encourage students to travel and gain international perspective and experiences but also that our faculty was encouraged to do the same. This idea immediately resonated with me and I remember making my goal right away: I wanted to travel with my students!  But first, I needed to gain some independent travel experience myself.  This journey took me to the Amazon Rainforest.  This would not normally be something that I would choose to do, but I did not want to miss out on an opportunity to travel because of a deep-seated fear of insects.  There is so much more out in the Rainforest than bugs, and I had to get out there and learn it so that I can share it with my students.  So, for months, I pushed the feelings of nausea aside, “ready or not, here I come!”  Little did I know, this experience changed my life! 

For as long as I can remember I have been afraid of ALL creepy crawlies, especially spiders.  I vowed to myself that in order to get over this fear I would have to face it head-on.  And so that is what I did.  I first started to appreciate the beauty in all living things (as scientists most often do).  I would look at bugs up close so that I could see exactly what made them so unique and cool.  What is cool about a scary hairy spider?!  Nothing really, I promise… but it does have a certain “pet-like” feeling when it is sitting in your hand! Moral of the story is that when you appreciate the beauty in things, we tend to fear them less.  Now, if only tarantulas were pink, right?

Facing my fears head-on has empowered me and encouraged me to accomplish anything that I desire.  If I can hold a tarantula, then I can do anything! And that has been my exact mindset in many things that I have faced over the past few years.  I have been able to do things that I normally would not do because of fear, and doing so has not only given me a sense of freedom about my own life but also challenges me to keep pushing myself outside of my comfort zone.  

Over the last few years, I have had many students come in and see my insect pictures from the Amazon and their faces tell me everything.  They too share my fears!  Being able to share with them that there is nothing to be afraid of and them actually thinking about that as a legitimate statement excites me for the day I get to hear, “you were right Ms. Goodman, there was nothing to be afraid of!”  They will gain the freedom to make decisions in their life that will continue to be challenging and force them to go after their goals.

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Louis' Inspiring Moment


TASK Parties were created by contemporary artist Oliver Herring in 2002, and are designed to be “improvisational events with a simple structure and very few rules.”  

In August 2016, Providence Day faculty and staff participated in a TASK party as part of their Back to School Inservice Week activities. Fourth-grade teacher Louis Davidson reflects on the event.

  1. How did it feel to be among your peers and doing something completely silly?

It was a combination of fun and scary. I do not really like drawing attention to myself in crowds, but I know enough faculty that I felt safe doing something goofy like that.

2. What did the experience mean to you?  What did you learn about yourself?

It was a lot of fun having to work out how the aluminum would stay wrapped around me. I was really excited to see others equally decorated in silly attire. I learned it was ok to step out of my comfort zone for others.

3. How would you interpret what you learned about yourself and your colleagues during the TASK party and use it in the classroom?

It is important to learn to laugh at yourself. That being silly and having fun while learning or trying something new is ok.

4. What do you feel your students could learn from you if you shared your experience at the TASK party with them?

They would get a really good laugh that's for sure. There are ways to push yourself in safely in social situations. That friends, peers are there to support you, and while they may laugh - they're really supporting you at the same time. That is important to try something new and outside your comfort zone, even when you don't want to.

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Prableen's Inspiring Moment


The first grade and fourth grade classes joined forces to tackle the Tower Project. The challenge: Work together in teams using all the different sized cups to see who can build the highest tower. The students took to their task seriously and strategically, but there were lots of laughs along the way. Every collapse resulted in problem-solving and a determination to build higher next time. 

In the end, the lesson wasn't about how to build a higher tower, but how to collaborate. And that we can all learn something even in failure. Here are some of the students' reflections after the building (and demolishing) was done.

Prableen, 4th Grade (pictured right) - I liked that our team kept creating new designs and persevering when it did fall down. 

Rehan, 1st Grade (pictured below) - When we were building it felt good because we did teamwork and we kept persevering if it fell down and we kept having ideas.

Stephanie, 4th Grade - It was a really fun experience. When the tower did fall down, we didn’t take ourselves too seriously and we just laughed and had fun.

Maeve, 1st Grade - It felt good because every time it fell down we laughed. We knew we could make it over again working together because together is better!

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Kevin's Inspiring Moment


Charger Fire — comprised of Nandita Balaji, Shreyas Bhasin, Kevin Kaspar and Zoe Sherman — competed in the international competition in Washington, D.C. in June 2017 after taking first place in the 9th-grade category in both the state and regional competitions.

eCYBERMISSION is one of several science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) initiatives offered by the U.S. Army Educational Outreach Program that challenges students to develop solutions to real-world problems in their local communities.

Charger Fire, under the guidance of their advisor, Middle School science teacher Ashley McClelland, developed an early-detection device to minimize the effects of a forest fire.

The students began brainstorming ideas in the fall when the smoke from fires devastating the Appalachian Mountains reached Charlotte. After several weeks research and consultations with experts in the field — namely Dr. Aixi Zhou, Fire Safety Engineering Technology associate professor at UNC-Charlotte, and Dr. Nicholas Skowronski, a research forester with U.S. Forest Service — the team finalized their plans for the early-detection device and constructed their first prototypes. 

Kevin Kaspar reflects on the challenges the team faced. After failing to connect with many of the experts he'd reached out to, he finally found a professor at UNC-Charlotte who seemed to be a perfect match. Once Kevin explained the team's time and budget requirements, he got some disappointing news.

"The first words out of his mouth were devastating," Kevin described. "He said that with our time constraint and with our budget, it was not possible to create a working prototype that collects the data we wanted. Here I was, standing with the one man who responded to the, what feels like, thousands of emails, saying that my team's project was going to be a failure."

The initial disappointment turned to determination. They continued to reach out to experts and leaders in the fire science industry. In the face of near-certain failure, they didn't give up.

"Each and every expert my team talked to, got us closer and closer to a working prototype and a spot in the national competition," Kevin reflected.

The determination paid off and sent the team all the way to the international competition. The team also plans to apply for a provisional patent as they continue their work in hopes that someday it will be used by both emergency officials and local residents as an early alert system, allowing for rapid response and minimal destruction due to forest fires.

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Inspired Reads



The Blessing of A Skinned Knee
by Wendy Mogel, Ph.D.


How Children Succeed
by Paul Tough


The Gift of Failure
by Jessica Lahey


The Gifts of Imperfection
by Brene Brown, Ph.D.


How to Raise An Adult
by Julie Lythcott-Haims 

ARTICLES:

"The Hamlin School Embraces No Rescue Policy for Parents to Encourage Resilience in Children"
by Wanda Holland Greene

"Failure is an Option: Helping Students Learn from Mistakes"
by John Orlando, PhD

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704.887.6000

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