From kindness to core values: RE students reunite four years after their Today Show appearance

Communication from Head of School Rachel Rodriguez to the RE community:

Precisely four years ago today, The Today Show aired an interview with nine of our middle school students for a segment on “kindness.” A few weeks ago, we emailed those students, now seniors and juniors, asking them to join us for a kindness reunion photo opp. When they arrived at a classroom on the third floor of our former math-science building during the mid-day break, we turned on video cameras. We gave them no advance notice. We did not prep them. Chief Operating Officer and Interim Head of the Upper School David Clark ’86 and I invited them into a conversation on our mission and core values – The RE Way – with the cameras rolling.
Sweet and adorable in 2019, the students – Mia Bouyoucef ’25, Thomas Crowley ’24, Kaitlyn Gonzalez ’24, Tyira Jackson ’24, Zoe Katsoufis ’24, T.J. Malone ’25, Daniel Mendelson ’25, Francisco Gomez Rivas-Vazquez ’24 and Sindhu Talluri ’25 – will astound you with the poise, authenticity, empathy and perspective they displayed during this surprise video shoot in late September. David and I became emotional listening to their spontaneous, genuine and heartfelt comments on kindness and the way those comments intertwined with our core values. 

Please enjoy a glimpse of that session by watching this video.

This reunion far surpassed our hopes for it. With great maturity, all of the students showed the ability to step outside of their daily experiences to see the bigger picture of what it means to be a student at Ransom Everglades. Each talked earnestly and passionately about our mission and core values. They shared how they felt supported by their peers, their teachers and the RE alumni community, and how they have experienced diversity and inclusion, joy and wellbeing, honor and excellence and service and outreach. David and I had intended to lead the conversation; however, once the students began talking, we just listened. 

We build our classroom instruction around a pedagogy of inquiry at Ransom Everglades. From the day they arrive, RE students are urged to step outside of their comfort zones, express their views in front of their peers, listen to what others have to contribute, and work collaboratively to find novel solutions to challenging problems. That dynamic represents a fundamental part of the academic experience at RE. That dynamic is at the heart of this video.

David and I expected to see growth in our students. We didn’t expect to witness a transformation. We left the classroom that day feeling amazed and grateful. These students will soon be sent out into the world. We have absolutely no doubt they and their peers will take our mission and core values with them, living out and sharing The RE Way so that – in the great tradition of our school – they leave the world better than they find it.
Rachel Rodriguez
Head of School
Founded in 1903, Ransom Everglades School is a coeducational, college preparatory day school for grades 6 - 12 located on two campuses in Coconut Grove, Florida. Ransom Everglades School produces graduates who "believe that they are in the world not so much for what they can get out of it as for what they can put into it." The school provides rigorous college preparation that promotes the student's sense of identity, community, personal integrity and values for a productive and satisfying life, and prepares the student to lead and to contribute to society.