Understanding Eagle Rock School’s 10 Commitments

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Editor’s Note (by Eliza Kate Wicks-Arshack, Adjunct Outdoor Education Instructor): We place much emphasis on values here at Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center, and these fundamentals are centered on what we call “Eight Plus Five Equals Ten.” These values include the eight themes, the five expectations, and the 10 commitments. The eight themes ensure we stay true to our school’s essence and mission, and the five expectations create the framework for our academic classes. It’s the 10 commitments that we explore in this post — the values our students strive to internalize and live by. In fact, this post is an exploration of the 10 commitments by students who first arrived at Eagle Rock in late-January of 2017 (officially known as ER 70). These students conducted interviews with staff and peers to gather different perspectives on the meaning of the commitments, and created a short video showing each of the 10 Commitments in action. Below the video, which appears next, is their take on each of these values, along with a graphical display of each one.


Commitment One — Live in respectful harmony with people of all races, cultures, religions, genders and sexual identities, some of whom will have disabilities or different learning styles:

“In this commitment, I learned a variety of things. Conducting interviews and trying to understand others’ interviews lead me to believe that living in respectful harmony is something the majority of people desire. Here at Eagle Rock School we try to understand each other and respect each other’s morals and values. Although we still have room to grow, I think our community is doing pretty well. We should hold each other accountable and hold each other to higher expectations. And we are expected to understand each other’s boundaries. These are things that can be useful to us in the future. To me it means that you dedicate yourself to something that benefits you and others in order to live in respectful harmony. “ — Xycelline Serafin

1 Priscilla Poster

“I too chose this commitment because I think it is important for the community and for myself to feel understood and feel comfortable being who you are without being judged. I believe that being who you are shouldn’t affect the way people treat you and that everyone should have compassion for each other’s mistakes.  I found this commitment to be important because it can make a huge impact on the community if we start living by it. This commitment is also another way to begin respecting other people, no matter the race, sexual identity, background, or age difference. Living in respectful harmony plays out in the Eagle Rock School community when it comes to gatherings and other activities in the community.”  — Priscilla Ramirez Perez

Commitment Two — Develop my mind through intellectual discipline, my body through physical fitness, and my spirit through thoughtful contemplation:

“In order for me to really get an idea of what this commitment means, I had to interview some fellow Eagle Rock School students and staff. This commitment honestly is my absolute favorite, and I’m so glad it’s something we have to follow because we only have one body, one soul, and one mind. We should do whatever possible to take care of ourselves and be the best person we can be. I personally think we aren’t doing enough in order to succeed with this commitment. More meditation sessions and more thoughtful conversations with the community would benefit us in my opinion.” — Hailee Williams

2 Hailee Poster

Commitment Three — Learn how to communicate more effectively in speech and writing:

“I chose this commitment because I think that it’s important to be able to communicate effectively when you live in a community like Eagle Rock. While interviewing people, I learned that many students and staff don’t understand the meaning of effective communication and don’t see the importance behind it. This commitment applies to Eagle Rock because if we don’t take the time to work out problems and conflicts in a calm and productive way, there could be grudges and frustration between houses and house members as well as students and staff.” — Anna Jacobi

3 Anna Poster

Commitment Four — Serve the Eagle Rock and other communities through the contribution of my labors:

“This commitment means to do what we need to do to in order to serve our community. At Eagle Rock we perform Saturday Service, Kitchen Patrol and chores. This is important because we all share a place where we are given meals, a place to sleep, an education — and for some people — new opportunities that they couldn’t get at home. So we repay them by cleaning, helping in the kitchen, and keeping our houses clean.” — Aries Colon

4 Aries Poster

Commitment Five — Become a steward of the planet:

“I chose this commitment because I believe it is very valued at Eagle Rock School. Through interviewing and analyzing this commitment with the community, my definition changed from ‘pick-up’ to ‘think macro and see your independent impact on the world we live in.’ At Eagle Rock School, it is obvious that world preservation is a base. This commitment is important — not only at our school — but also the world population because we need a sustainable place to live.” — Ian Boyd

5 Ian Poster

Commitment Six — Make personal choices that will support healthy living:

“I chose this commitment because it talks about living healthy and that you should make choices to support it.  What I learned from this commitment is that all my choices should support my life and others in a healthy way in order for us to live a great life and have a great future. I learned this is important because the choices we make now, whether good or bad, affect our future, so the more intentional we are with choices now, the better our future will be. This applies at Eagle Rock because everyone eats healthy, drinks a lot of water, and does morning exercise, which keeps our bodies in shape. Since we live on campus for three months at a time, these routines really help. Everyone in our community should be making choices that won’t hurt them now or later in life.” — Kenneth Lambert

6 kenny poster

Commitment Seven — Find, nurture and develop the artist within:

“I chose this commitment because it was one that I have practiced both on campus and on Wilderness. I went around and asked the community what were the pros and cons of this particular commitment. I learned the pros included having spaces where students can make art, having art projects all over campus, having places like the art studio, Human Performance Center, the school house, and also by having art integrated into classrooms. It’s important to our community because it encourages people to tap into a deeper version of self-expression for themselves. The cons include people who don’t respect individual art, or disrespect the tools, and leaving buildings a mess. For the future of this commitment I heard suggestions for a spiritual art class, more art tools, and having more spaces for people to come together and share things in common.”  — Maria Suaste Perez

7 Maria Poster

Commitment Eight — Increase my capacity to exercise leadership for justice:

“I chose the eighth commitment because leadership has been a big focus of my growth, both on Wilderness trips and here on campus. I learned that leadership isn’t always a choice and that sometimes you’re simply put in leadership positions. Everybody has leadership qualities and everyone is capable of leading, but embracing those qualities is what makes you a good leader. This commitment applies at Eagle Rock because leadership is one of those things that make it easier to be successful in life, and all the students here are trying to be successful. It is important to our community because there aren’t a lot of leaders in the world and this community has a reputation of depending on the leadership of students. This is preparing us for the real world where there is a high demand for leaders.” — Danial Woodbury

8 Danial's Poster

Commitment Nine — Practice the arts of citizenship and democratic living:

“I learned that Commitment Nine is important to the community because without it, life would be chaotic here at Eagle Rock. I see it play out at Eagle Rock School where everyone has a say and respects each other’s views and opinions. What I got from my commitment is that you can’t just care about yourself — you should care about the community and be engaged in the process of building community. In the future, the community can practice getting along better and getting rid of all the drama.” — Hendrick Paz

9 Henndrick Poster

Commitment Ten — Devise an enduring moral and ethical code:

“A moral and ethical code establishes the standards that we hold ourselves up to and in order to resolve a number of situations. Such a code holds the community accountable. In my poster, I talk about how we struggle to hold this commitment up by taking other people’s feelings into account. I also talk about our strong points when it comes to this commitment, which is the community showing integrity. There is still room for improvement — for both staff and students. I would like all the Eagle Rockers to take this commitment into account and seriously develop and exercise a moral and ethical code.” — Ryan Singer

10 Ryan Poster

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