Every Tides Shining Star has a success story that leads us back to a solid foundation. Zackary Hatton, our next Shining Star, has a unique and personal experience from his life as a Montessori child. Carrying this life into his next journey (being a freshmen at Florida State University), he shared in an interview, “I’m well prepared”. He credits his confidence to the value Montessori placed on the power within him, specifically, learning to manage his power of choice. He took with him, “I could always make a better choice for myself.” Beyond Montessori he’s cut his path – the life he’d like to lead.
Zack’s roots go deep! Among only a few, he attended Montessori Tides Adolescent Program through 8th grade. He experienced many impacting opportunities. To name a few: 1) He traveled twice to New York City to participate in the model UN. 2) On one of those trips he went to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Montessori education along with other Montessori schools. 3) He raised money through a business model he created himself in the adolescent program for the sole purpose of traveling to New York. Zack unfolded through many of these experiences and gained actual skills such as: willing to explore, confidence in his work, willing to try things out and make mistakes and try again, an openness of mind, work in teams, the freedom to collaborate and innovate to get where he’d like to be. Meet the real Zack Hatton!
To prepare for his next school experience, he shared, “I wrote an essay to qualify for the Ace Program at Mandarin High School. I was accepted and attended this program for two years.” We began to see his skills come into play in his everyday life when, despite being completely qualified for the program, after the two years, Zack lacked finding fulfillment in it. Instead of continuing in the program that did not express his thoughts and ideas as an individual, he felt empowered to make a better choice toward his goals. He along with his parents decided it would be best for Zack to leave the Ace Program and attend his local district High School.
“I was much happier after I made the switch in schools,” said Zack. “Education for me is about experiencing life connected to knowledge.” Let’s just say the knowledge he was gaining wasn’t relevant to the real life he was living – the life he‘d like to lead.
When asked if he could recognize anything Montessori gave him, he, without hesitation, said, “Preparation for living.” He backed up the answer with his own observation, “For the most part, in high school everyone’s knowledge is the same. We are all learning the same thing, writing the same papers, and solving the same math problems. But not everyone was able to make good choices or know how to operate in the everyday successfully, like knowing how to start a washing machine.”
Even at Zack’s young age he already has a series of wise choices on his life resume that spring from a healthy heart. He told, “I learned right from wrong.” Montessori laid the boundaries he needed as a young child without limiting his choices. Having this freedom of choice in his early years allowed him to navigate through the various parts of life and handle them successfully.
Managing his internal world really has become the prerequisite for his increased external blessing and influence. When applying for college, he looked at choices that were only going to bring him reward. Instead of overwhelming himself, he perfected his power of choice and applied to three colleges he would be happy with. The one he happened to desire the most desired him!
Unlike the average college student, Zack is not dragging along his laundry basket every visit back home nor is he trying to find “who he is”. He brings himself to his new beginning and continues to navigate his life choices by positioning himself to love what he’s doing. In his words, “Whatever I do I want to like it. Life is hectic and busy, but if you love what you do you can carry through.” Needless to say, the sky is the limit for this star!