What does it mean to be a Schuler Scholar?

By Immanuel Greene, 1st year Scholar Coach at Zion-Benton Township High School 09/28/2016

One of the first questions asked of me at my pre-camp training meeting was “what does it mean to be a Schuler Scholar?” Having just walked across the stage and received my diploma the previous week, I searched within myself for the most academic, insightful, polished, politically correct response to that question. I was, however, at a loss for an answer, and a bit frustrated with myself and those around me. I was in a small conference room with three second year Scholar Coaches, and their School Director, and somehow, having minimal exposure to Schuler as a program, had to unequivocally express what it means to be a Schuler Scholar. I thought back to brochures I had read…still nothing came to mind. I thought back to my interview day, the skype and phone interviews…still nothing. I looked at the other Scholar Coaches as if begging for help, but still nothing came to mind. I masked my frustration by blaming my silence on burnout from having just ended my college career, but I was still searching for an answer. The training moved forward, but I never got a definitive answer to that question.

Funny enough, the question came up again at the Scholar Coach retreat, various trainings, onboarding days, and the All Staff Meeting, but I still did not have an answer. Instead of wallowing in my now two month long suspension of frustration, I decided to reflect on not only what it means to be a Schuler Scholar, but also why Schuler asks this question of us very early on and repeatedly. My answer to the former is: I still do not know. In my STEM enrichment meetings with Scholars I encourage them to be process-oriented as opposed to product-oriented. This is simply a mindset that encourages the enjoyment of the ride; Scholars should not focus on the A+ at the end of the quarter, or the on the Chemistry exam. Scholars should focus more so on how they got to the final grade and all of the things experienced and learned along the way. Psychologically this is a mindset that we lose by the age of 8, but given the plastic nature of our brains we can mold ourselves back into that mode of thinking. It would be hypocritical of me to not assume this same kind of thinking when pondering the aforementioned question that has plagued me for two months. 

Alas, I still do not fully know what it means to be a Schuler Scholar, but I am still learning. The past two months of trainings and work experience has given me different ideas of what the answer is, but Schuler asking that question early on has prompted me to continually reflect on my work as a Scholar Coach. Schuler has entrusted all of its staff with the mission of the organization, “[to equip] bright, motivated youth with the support they need to gain access to and succeed at highly selective colleges and beyond…”, so every day we work to coach Scholars a small distance through the overall process. I am still early on in the process of becoming fully aware of what I do to help uphold the culture of Schuler, so how could I fully answer the question of what it means to be a Schuler Scholar? I just have to, every day, coach myself to remain process-oriented and enjoy the ride to understanding the answer. 


SC Immanuel Greene working with a Scholar at ZBTHS

SC Immanuel Greene working with a Scholar at ZBTHS

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