Zoo School [Book Writing Blogrimage Day 29/30]


I hated school. In the early days, I didn’t mind elementary school, recess and eating “fireball” candies, but after my parents divorced, I couldn’t stand high school. This slowly changed when I decided to attend an experimental, holistic charter school at the Minnesota Zoo. This school had much smaller class sizes, zero tests, a 99 percent college placement rate, and met at a zoo. We did math and English—all the regular state required material. Meeting at the Zoo each day also opened up our opportunities a little more uniquely than other schools offered. I had a class where I was assigned to spend an hour with Japanese Snow Monkeys everyday. For another class, I slept in negative 15 degrees Fahrenheit weather without a tent. This school awakened my love for learning and I’ve kept that ever since. Because I started the zoo school due to a hatred of education, it showed in my class participation. Most students really wanted to be in this specific school because it was so rare, and the school rejected most applicants. Somehow I made it in, and at first, didn’t look to enthusiastic. One day, the founder of the school told me that I was not “zoo school material.” This challenged me to make something of myself, and I ended up being the class of 2007 speaker. That same teacher told me I had just given the best commencement speech he’s ever heard.