Surprise Ahead!

School director Andy Smallman writes a regular blog post for The Intelligent Optimist magazine, posting about once a month. In August, he wrote about how he thinks the world is constantly providing people little treasures or surprises to find. Andy suggests these surprises are actually a kind of road sign, marking our paths as we move through our lives. He references Annie Dillard’s book, “Pilgrim at Tinker Creek,” in which she tells how as a child she would hide pennies for strangers to find. She’d mark a trail about how to find them with arrows and notes, one that said, “Surprise Ahead!”

If you want, go read that entry now, for further context.

Last Thursday, the high schoolers first day on site this year, the students arrived to find the “Surprise Ahead!” message taped to the floor with arrows pointing them to their cubbies. Inside each was a penny, heads up.

Each school day is filled with positive surprises — activities, opportunities, and people being there for our students to find. Our hope is to help them learn to identify them so doing so becomes habitual.


Because doing so guarantees a lifetime of seeing opportunities.