What is the Hero/Shero’s Journey at EMA?

NOTE: This blog post was originally published January 2018.

During the Fall of 2016, when EMA learners were challenged with the task to create a logo for Empowered Minds Academy, they took a deep dive into color theory charts, animal symbolism and reviewed logos from other schools throughout the nation.  What symbolic identity would our learners choose?

A consensus was reached.  EMA’s colors would be black, red, and purple (or gold, a vote was still needed), and our mascot would be… the Panthers.

This quest culminated with our oldest Panther working with a local magazine’s graphic design team, and learning how to use Adobe Illustrator to produce a solid draft of what would be our school logo.

And now, it’s very timely that one of the most anticipated movies of our time will be coming out, Black Panther.

EMA’s logo will be on the big screen!

Jokes aside, EMA is now on its own Hero’s Journey.

Black Panther is a significant fictional hero to look to as a model because T’Challa will begin his own Hero’s Journey when he returns to Wakanda to claim the throne.  What fears and challenges will T’Challa confront as he walks his path to self-discovery and transformation?  Who will his allies be?  Without a doubt, T’Challa will be tested, and trials are a part of every Hero’s Journey.  Will he overcome failure?  How will he dig deep and find the courage and strength within?

Unlike the fictional King of Wakanda, the Hero’s Journey at EMA is a true-to-life metaphor for the ups and downs of learning and growing.

At EMA, we believe that each learner has a special calling in life.  We believe that every learner who enters EMA will find that calling, embark on a Hero’s Journey, and will change the world. The Hero’s Journey is about self-discovery and transformation and the hard work it takes to get there.  When challenged, when failure is imminent, a hero resets and gets back up again.  For our Panthers, working hard and pressing through with courage, kindness, integrity, intentionality, and purpose are rewarded with freedom and joy, and a more profound knowledge of self.  We become heroes in our own lives and heroes in the lives of others; this leads to a satisfying and fulfilled life.

A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.

We believe each of our learners will find a passion — something they love and have a gift to do.  They will use this gift to serve others and fulfill a need they are passionate about.  Perhaps, a hero will become a homesteader who lives off the grid and inspires others to unplug and grow their own food;  a hero may become a neuroscientist who shares the miracles of the human brain;  an epigeneticist who studies how past trauma effects our DNA;  an author who inspires and transforms their readers; or an architect who designs sustainable structures;  a computer programmer who uses code to create apps that change, or protects, people’s lives;  an entrepreneur or business leader guided by compassion and integrity;  or an artist or writer who brings beauty to people’s lives; or a father or mother who leads a family on a Hero’s Journey.

Watato wako tayri (Kiswahili – the children are ready)!

Yes!  EMA Panthers are ready!

And, EMA is committed to preparing our learners for their own Hero/Shero’s Journeys.


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