I'd like to reconstruct one teacher's view of Austin's 7th grade year, 2004 thru 2005, But before he got together with us, his new Pod and teachers, we the teachers already knew Austin. How could you miss him? We knew him because he was the 6th grade kid who scampered around the West Campus by himself or with others as if always on some imaginary adventure.Whether the first or last day of school, when you saw him and he saw you, he always shared his smile. And then we smiled. It felt great to be around him. Beginning in August 2004, we learned of his clear-headed intentions, his sharp mind, his commitment to each assignment, his willingness and abiltiy to work well with fellow students. The attention he gave us and his peers were signs of commitment to us, himself, others, and a belief in the entire school environment. I began to sense that his life was not about achievements and outdoing others, although he was competitive and usually was well ahead of most, but more about touchstones. I mean living for life itself. Austin was smart enough to absorb and take whatever we were doing to a higher personal level. I can't entirely speak for others, but I can vouch for what I heard and what he learned. He was a student in a team-based program and we knew our kids. I know what I saw, what I heard, and in all cases I was mesmerized by his initiative and commitment to learning. Other teachers were, too. His peers as well. He was developing a quiet following and unbeknownst to him or us, a legendary presence. I would never have said that almost a decade ago, but I think the process was underway. My sense is that legendary people don't think about becoming that special person to be put on a pedestal, and certainly Austin was the humble servant of learning. Life came to him as he asserted himself in it and expressed it. He was and is life. Austin was the kid with the big smile, the innocent curiosity, the engager, the optimist, a bright student who was as well suited for indoor work as outdoor work, or play. Austin loved the capture the flag "Turkish Game" as much as he loved digging into challenging research projects. He never missed a beat. My view was that Austin devoured our offerings and extended himself in each and every activity. He never flinched from challenges, but rather embraced every experience as a valuable opportunity rather than an ongoing series of tasks and problems. He was always connecting the dots: academic, experiential, personal, interpersonal, nature... all encompassing. The rhythm of his heart beats on for everyone who knew him, whom he touched, and for what he represented. Life itself.
Collecting stories so that everyone can see who Austin Hudson-Lapore was to each of us.