‘Unschool’ raising funds for permanent home

Published: May. 11, 2022 at 5:35 PM EDT
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, New York (WWNY) - It’s an alternative style of education where the kids get to choose what they learn, how they learn, and at what pace they learn. It’s known as an “unschool” and one in St. Lawrence County is working towards a permanent home.

“In my heart and in my head it is a school because we get taught the main courses like math, social studies, ELA in our own way,” said Samie Converse, student.

The Deep Root Center serves 25 children in North Lawrence as an alternative style of education. Along with traditional education, other skills and activities are offered - all at the pace of each child.

“Learning is completely natural, but school in and of itself is optional. The premise that you have to have this cookie-cutter place where everyone learns the same way is kind of outdated,” said Angie Foster, lead mentor.

It’s a philosophy that is shared with several of the students’ parents.

“Usually with the traditional schools they only have a certain amount of time to learn a certain amount of stuff. Coming here they can have the whole day, or however long they want to learn what they want to learn,” said Clifford Herne, parent.

The DRC first started a decade ago in a fire department in Lawrenceville. It has since moved to a North Lawrence church, and now the students are looking to raise the money needed to buy the building the school is in.

“May 21st is an event that we call a party in the park. We’re going to have live music, vendors. We’re just going to try and raise the money to buy the unschool,” said Converse.

“We’ve got a food truck, a dad that’s going to grill some hot dogs, and we got like 15 to 20 vendors signed up right now. So it should be a lot of fun,” said Foster.

The party in the park is Saturday, May 21 at the Lawrenceville Fire Hall from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with all the proceeds going to benefit the DRC East new home fund - a place where Foster says they look to keep their little family at East together and have a place where they can continue their academic endeavors.

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