Power Tends to Corrupt (Year 1, Week 12)

Which do you like more, giving or receiving gifts?

This was the question that launched the second week of this session. The heroes initially all agreed that they preferred giving, until one courageous hero, Jack, chimed in, “to be really honest, I like receiving better.” “Me too”, a few added shyly. This led to an interesting (and season appropriate!) discussion about the value of giving and receiving, and the meaning of Christmas to each hero.

Pitch-a-Pet Excursion

These heroes were particularly happy to see that the pet shops had the animals they each will be pitching to the studio. They were able to undertake further research through the investigation of the pet shop products as well as by asking the store employees questions about the pets. A highlight for the heroes was being able to pet a hamster, guinea pig and bunny during the trip (as well as the ice cream at the end of the excursion!)


What is the biggest threat to animals living in the ocean?

With an additional challenge: Find out an interesting fact about an ocean animal that is now extinct.

After discussing their findings, the heroes all voted and the biggest threat was decided on: pollution. Specifically, physical trash in the ocean. The discussion then turned to wondering about where pollution and trash originates, leading to the question; is trash the biggest threat to ocean animals or are we?

Writer’s Workshop

The heroes who had finished their first draft were excited to share their stories with their fellow travellers on Tuesday and receive warm and cool feedback to help them refine, improve and publish their stories on Thursday.


Each session a different character trait is focussed on and as we enter the Christmas season, gratitude seemed an appropriate and timely focus for this session. The heroes left the launch with the challenge: identify something you are grateful for today and come ready to share it during closing group. During closing, the heroes had an opportunity to share something they were each grateful for. Their responses included: my friends, Heroes Academy, my house and food.

The heroes are also compiling a “thank-you” letter to our studio visitor from last session, Architect Jim Escobar, which they will be sending sometime next week.

Service Project

  1. Making gifts and cards to distribute to the people working in the offices near the studio.
  2. Decorating placemats, lunch bags and cards to be distributed in the community through the Meals on Wheels organization.

Time will be set aside for these activities next week.

This Week’s Big Failure

Although this was implemented in an effort to give heroes more opportunity to earn back their lost hero bucks and better map actions to consequences, it quickly became obvious that it was not valuable or beneficial for the heroes, guides, or the studio community. It put guides in a position of enforcing a contract and taking more power in the studio, lessons we powerfully learned only a week ago. More importantly, it removed the opportunity for heroes to manage themselves.

Once guides identified and acknowledged the failure, it was communicated to the heroes, and the studio then reverted back to it’s previous state. The guides were removed from holding the heroes accountable directly, and the power was back in the hands of the heroes.

For the guides, one quote came to life: “Power tends to corrupt. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

The daily tracking of hero bucks, however, will continue, as it proved to help each hero understand how the choices they were making or not making would affect them from day to day.

Christmas Gifts

Betsy’s gifts to her fellow travelers

The last thing to share for this week are the wonderful gifts Betsy gave to all her studio mates. She spent her hard earned hero bucks and time on buying and making gifts for each one, as well as for the guides. A great examples of the values these heroes have and are developing.

In Short

All in all, we’re working hard, having fun, learning tough lessons, and ready for a fun-filled week of Christmas activities to come.

Elementary blog for Heroes Academy, an innovative school in Boise, Idaho. We inspire children to find a calling and change the world → http://heroesacademy.org