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Step Into Their Stories...

Every Semester Writes its own Story

by Lise Goddard, Head of Maine Coast Semester at Chewonki

“Every semester writes its own story.” This is not just a declarative statement but a piece of oral history and wisdom, something passed on to me when my sons joined Maine Coast Semester 64. A compelling invitation. A unique narrative, an original outcome, a storyline that could only be written by these young authors. So much opportunity, space, and agency to shape and weave a narrative.

Lise Schickel Goddard

The grounding for this spaciousness is the Maine landscape and a way of living that puts students close to the elements and each other. Some 40+ courageous students who don’t know each other, who come to the Neck to live their education, have the chance to build our community together and grow into new versions of themselves. Our guidelines, expectations, and our exceptional group of educators and mentors hold our community together. This combination of landscape, guiding principles, and vibrant faculty offers open pages to allow each unique narrative to play out each semester.

I’m interested in the interplay of place, mission, and vision that creates conditions for transformative growth at Chewonki. It includes direct observation and engagement with the natural world, being an active participant and steward, and developing new strengths.

I’m reminded of the etymology of the word “education” – from the Latin educere – “to draw out.”  To invite the inherent goodness and wisdom within each of us.  To write your own story.  To learn that you can make a positive difference in the world.

Chewonki continues to work its magic across semesters, and though each group is unique, they converge on a similar ending, made evident at each graduation ceremony. When students speak from their heart to their whole semester, they speak with emotion and appreciation about deep connection and how much they’ve learned about themselves.

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