By Allie Cooper
Director of Student Development

This past Saturday, I had the honor and pleasure of taking two of our elected junior students, Jackson Barber and Lucy Liautaud, and our former Head of School Dr. Michael Cooper, south to Yale University for the #EmotionRevolution summit. This summit featured a full day of inspirational work with hundreds of other educational leaders, educators, and students from around the country. For Jackson and Lucy it provided an opportunity to interact with other high school students to talk about how emotions drive decisions and relationships at school and that sometimes talking about emotions is not easy.

This past summer, the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence partnered with the Born This Way Foundation, which was co-founded with music superstar, Lady Gaga and her mother, Cynthia Germanotta, to ignite the important conversation about making schools a place where all students can thrive, feel empowered, and inspire bravery. In the spring, Brewster Academy students, along with 25,000 high school students around the United States took part in a survey to find out how they felt while being in school. Seventy-five percent of the students surveyed reported they felt tired, bored, and stressed while at school but want to feel happy, excited, energized, empowered, valued, respected, safe, connected, motivated, and passionate.

FullSizeRender(12)The summit served as a platform to unveil the findings of the study as well as offer youth the opportunity to share their ideas for creating improved learning environments with key educators, academics, and policy makers. A major goal of the summit is to create momentum around the national social and emotional learning movement and to provide youth and educators with the resources they need to accelerate positive changes in their schools and communities. As Dr. Marc Brackett, director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, has said many times, “Emotions drive learning, decision making, relationships, and health. Research has shown us repeatedly that the skills of emotional intelligence profoundly impact a person’s ability to thrive – academically, personally, and professionally.

“The Emotion Revolution survey will allow us to take the emotional temperature of young people around the country, improving our understanding of how to best equip them with the tools they need to succeed in every facet of life.”

The need for an Emotion Revolution has never been greater as it was found that far too many young people today are feeling overwhelmed, isolated, and bored, according to researchers at Yale. The American Psychological Association concurs finding that high school-age youth are reporting feeling more stressed than adults. Left unchecked, such emotions can impair mental and physical health, interfere with learning, and hinder prospects for future success. The Emotion Revolution is dedicated to helping to reverse these trends.

FullSizeRender(9)In addition to hearing Lady Gaga speak of her battle with depression and anxiety and how she has used emotional intelligence to talk about how she is feeling, Antigone Davis, head of Global Safety at Facebook, spoke on the important steps that Facebook has provided to promote safety online as well as introduce InspireED, a new resource for students, parents, and educators to use to continue to inspire, show appreciation to others, and practice emotional literacy,

Bert Jacobs, co-founder and CEO of LIFE IS GOOD, spoke about how his brand developed and how he chooses optimism to grow the good in humankind.

Dr. Peter Salovy, president and key contributor to the studies around emotional intelligence had the chance to address students about his early work in emotional intelligence and the important work that Yale has done to help students become more emotionally intelligent.

The summit lived up to its hype delivering memories, program, and message. Both Lucy and Jackson left the Summit feeling like Brewster Academy is a nurturing, supportive place to live, learn, and lead. They both looked at me and unsolicited said, “Brewster knows what they are doing, I feel lucky to go to school here.” Of course I was proud of them for recognizing just how good they have it, but even more proud that they put themselves out there for a day representing Brewster in a way that would make us all proud.

Saturday was definitely a day I will remember for a long time. Thank you Yale and the Born This Way Foundation for, as our students would say, “killing it,” on Saturday. I look forward to seeing the momentum gained in this country from such an inspiring day.

Learn more about Brewster’s Emotional Literacy program and our partnership with Yale on our website: