Education as a way of life

My 7th-grade students spent four days and three nights camping at Moran State Park. The weather was perfect. It was mid-September 2022. When planning the trip, I thought about what 7th graders would consider fun. Building driftwood structures on Crescent Beach, playing Dodgeball in Orcas Island Skatepark, jumping off the bridge at Cascade Lake, and building campfires at Moran State Park, were on the list.

When I told them they would be visiting a farm while they were on the island, a few of them wondered why. They had visited farms before. Farms, in their opinion, weren’t that much fun.

They were in for a surprise when they arrived at West Beach Farm. They experienced farm life because they milked goats, collected wool after a sheep was shorn, gathered eggs in the henhouse, picked fresh veggies, paddled a canoe and swam in the pond, had a picnic in the meadow, and best of all, they spent time with Kathy Morris.

When our daughters, now 30, met on the first day of kindergarten, Kathy and I became instant friends. Since then, I have seen Kathy contribute to the education of children in so many ways. Look at all the singers, artists, dancers, actors, athletes, musicians, future farmers, gardeners, cooks, bakers, and caterers on Orcas Island who have had Kathy Morris as a mentor and teacher. Thank you, Kathy Morris, for also showing my 7th grade students the fun side of farm life, and more importantly, for sharing your pragmatic approach to education.

Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does. -William James

Denise O’Toole

Orcas Island