Avonworth School District News Article

Nation's First Wisdom Squads Meet at Avonworth Primary Center

It was an exciting day at Avonworth Primary Center when more than 175 students from 12 schools throughout Allegheny County came together for a Wisdom Corridor event on January 18, 2023. 

Avonworth Primary Center students and staff created their own Wisdom Corridor thanks to the generous support of the Grable Foundation and Project FUEL. 

After teaching across the world for 13 years (40 countries, 5 continents), Deepak Ramola, Founder of Project FUEL, recognized one striking similarity among the schools – the halls were always filled with quotes from famous people. 

“They were great quotes, but what if a student has a follow-up question? Who should they ask?” Mr. Ramola began to wonder. 

That’s when Mr. Ramola came up with the idea of collecting life lessons from teachers and displaying them in interesting and inspiring ways throughout the school. And, who better to capture all of this wisdom than the students themselves? 

“One of my favorite parts of this project is that it enables us to highlight both our students and our teachers,” said Dr. Scott Miller, Primary Center Principal. “When we teach our students how to ask deep, meaningful questions and engage in thoughtful discussion, we are helping them build the skills that will guide them toward success throughout their lifetime.”

Fast forward to January 18th.  The first cohort of Wisdom Squads gathered at Avonworth to learn more about teamwork, share their own wisdom, and learn from one another. 

“I learned many things about how to interview someone,” said Josephine Walsh, a 5th-grade student at Foster Elementary School in Mt. Lebanon. “Don’t just ask yes or no questions. There has to be a deeper meaning.”

“I like to know what my teachers have to say,” said Jionni Sansotta, a 5th-grade student at Aiken Elementary School in Keystone Oaks. 

“It makes me feel joyful when I read the wisdom in the hall,” added Meadow Pluebell, who is also a 5th-grade student at Aiken Elementary School. 

Avonworth 6th grader Imogen Boggess is part of the country’s very first Wisdom Squad.  She is inspired by this project. “I like seeing how much people want to make the world a better place.”  

4th grader Brooklyn Smalley, also part of the inaugural Wisdom Corridor project at Avonworth, has learned a lot too. “I enjoy meeting new people and finding someone who doesn’t look or talk like me but we have things in common,” she said.

At Shaler School District, the students took a different approach. Elementary students interviewed High School students and vice versa. 

“This project is so unique and so much fun,” said Rachel Scierka, a senior at Shaler High School. “The younger students have so much knowledge to share if you take the time to ask them questions and really listen to their answers.” 

“We tend to value wisdom that comes with age,” said. Mr. Ramola. “But that is a misconception. Wisdom comes from experiences, not necessarily age.”

“What if we could make every child in the entire world feel important and responsible?” wondered Mr. Ramola. “It is my hope that we can collectively keep working toward that.” 

About the Wisdom Corridor Pittsburgh Project.

About Project Fuel

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