Conversations of Meaning: January 12, 7:00pm

An evening of dialogue and discovery

Values in World Thought is a capstone course unique to Mount Madonna School (MMS) that spans 11th and 12th grades and engages students in meaningful conversations. True dialogue is a collaborative process of active listening and discussion that helps the students develop a deeper understanding of the subject matter, and respect and curiosity about the ideas of others.

On January 12, from 7:00 to 8:30pm, MMS will host “Conversations of Meaning,” via Zoom, an evening of dialogue and discovery facilitated by Values course founder SN Ward Mailliard and co-teacher Shannon Kelly, and designed to offer a glimpse into the Values program. RSVP below to receive the Zoom link.

Join the conversation, and learn how Values class fosters literacy, self-confidence, thinking skills, collaboration and creativity, and supports the development of thoughtful, discerning, and empathetic individuals that are capable of taking responsibility for their actions and capable of both facilitating and engaging in collaborative work.

“Through this coursework,” said Kelly, “students learn to live with complexity and ambiguity, and to enlarge their capacity to understand the power of questions and the importance of curiosity over criticality.”

The Values in World Thought curriculum is preparatory for the “learning journeys” that, on alternating years, include interviews with government and non-government leaders in Washington, D.C. and international travel to places such as India and South Africa. On these journeys students conduct interviews with leading world thinkers, and meet people with different perspectives on life. Past interviewees have included Congressman John Lewis, and Nobel Laureates: former South African President F.W. de Klerk, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama. On their journeys the students spend time with other schools and non-profit organizations around the world.

The process of interviewing people in positions of high responsibility and service to society builds confidence, helps students imagine a wider range of possibilities for what they can do with their lives, and encourages skills in research, language, and the intuitive process of knowing how to engage respectfully through questions.

“Values learning journeys create an atmosphere of practical discovery about self, relationships and how to maintain one’s composure and aims when meeting with the diverse challenges of the road,” commented Mailliard. “This helps students to understand what we have in common as human beings, and, at a visceral level, that we have a certain level of responsibility for the well-being of others, and that serving our communities is one of the primary roads to a happy and meaningful life.”


For more on the Values program:



Contact: Leigh Ann Clifton, director of marketing & communications,

Nestled among the redwoods on 375 acres, Mount Madonna School (MMS) is a diverse learning community dedicated to creative, intellectual, and ethical growth. MMS supports its students in becoming caring, self-aware, discerning and articulate individuals; and believe a fulfilling life includes personal accomplishments, meaningful relationships and service to society. The CAIS and WASC accredited program emphasizes academic excellence, creative self-expression and positive character development. Located on Summit Road between Gilroy and Watsonville. Founded in 1979.

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