Compass Day

| By Joel Harding |

The idea of Compass Day was born in the mind of Dan Lopez, Waterville Spanish, Leadership and English teacher. Lopez wanted to mark high school graduation as a passage to adulthood for Shocker graduates. The idea of a compass to guide their future actions and direction developed quickly as a way to anchor the principles they had learned in their time at Waterville School. Damian Smith also collaborated on the creation of the compass. The compass contains the four ideals of integrity, courage, respect and responsibility along with 12 others. On Compass Day, each graduate receives a compass.

As a student of the writings of the mythologist Joseph Campbell, Lopez began to see that the hero’s journey was a companion idea to that of the compass, connecting this idea with that of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” that is part of the “Leader In Me” program at the school. He created a map identifying the elements of the hero’s journey and the seven habits and placed the compass in the middle. Along with their compass, graduates receive this map to the future.

It is true that each individual journey will be different in some ways, but true to the studies of Joseph Campbell, who defined the idea of the hero’s journey, there are commonalities. We may not have to slay the same dragons, but challenges inevitably emerge. If we are to live successful lives, adventures must be accepted, challenges must be met, mountains must be climbed and learning must be returned to the communities of which we are a part.

By helping students learn about these great ideas from the past and applying them to their lives, Lopez is responding to his vocation as a teacher. He is helping all Shocker graduates to live lives fulfilling to themselves and helpful to their communities.