By Dr. Raquel Castrodad
“If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it.” – William Arthur Ward

The Raquel Castrodadquote from what is a brilliant ad slogan, “Just Do it!,” should be the guiding light and starting point of this voyage towards achieving a virtues-based community. It was for us. We are just a rural school in the middle of a little island, but we had big dreams (and now have even bigger dreams). Stephen Butler Leacock may have said it best when he said, “It may be that those who do most, dream most.”

The attainment of a virtues-based community requires a vision, a plan, the will, and the courage to act. The vision begins. As the possibilities are explored, the vision expands. The journey has begun. It truly is as simple as that! “Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so shall you become. Your vision is the promise of what you shall one day be; your ideal is the prophecy of what you shall at last unveil.” said James Allen.

Radians School has always been a school with great vision. Understanding that a virtues-based community was a truly attainable goal was the first step towards working to achieve it. We were excited about all the possibilities a virtues-based community could offer. We wrote these down, we pondered them and the longer we considered these, the stronger became the will to journey towards the goal. This is a vision that transcends all barriers; be they linguistic, racial, cultural, economic, social, etc.

How does one describe the immense joy of walking down the corridors of this institution and seeing students with a genuine joy to arrive at school every day? It offers a cold and sharp contrast with the reality faced by others. Our students are genuinely growing in a healthy, safe environment that fosters and stimulates academic achievement and wholesome community relations.

Along the way we learned many things. Our school has come to realize that a Virtues-Based Community is not a place… it is a journey. This journey is continuous. As the great writer Ernest Hemingway said, “It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”

One need not travel blindly in this quest for a virtues-based community. We will be sharing our voyage in the hopes of inspiring and motivating others to courageously aspire to this goal.
Our school has won many awards, but the purpose is to help other schools win many awards. We have created a wonderful virtues-based community, but our desire is to help others establish one just as wonderful, or even better.

We understand that this is a great desire of many others. Sometimes the desire is latent, sometimes it is evident. However, for some the obstacles may seem overwhelming, and the road, hidden and obscure. But there really is a roadmap. A school on a little island could do it. It had the will of the little choo-choo train that said “I think I can! I think I can! I KNOW I can!”

We are still on this journey, and will continue to be because the results are obvious, both academically and in the overall positive school environment and spirit. We invite you to come and share with us in a fun, activity filled event. “There is always a realistic way to fulfill any dream. There has never been a dream that you can’t have — at least, not the heart of it, not the part you love the most.”

Dr. Raquel Castrodad will present a session at CEP’s upcoming Forum “How to Foster a Virtues-based Community from a 2012 National School Of Character Perspective.”