Building an Academic Foundation at The Children’s School

For almost 50 years, The Children’s School has graduated passion-driven students who are curious problem seekers and problem solvers. As our “Portrait of a Graduate” states: “Our graduates are courageous, hungry and joyful learners, empowered with critical intellectual and communications skills. They are strong self-advocates whose passions, cultural sensitivity, and curiosity drive lifelong learning and who engage in the world around them, prepared to help shape that world for good.”

Jessica Murfree (TCS Class of 2005) is just one example of this passion-driven, curious graduate, and she credits The Children’s School for her love of learning and for helping to build the foundation for her academic success.

“I owe all of my academic success to The Children’s School,” said Jessica. “(There are) specific things that I learned here that I use every day – my love of reading, writing, my creativity, my curiosity, my imagination – all of that is a product of being a student here.”

To prove how much she still loves to read and that she’s a curious, lifelong student, she pulls out a large, hardcover non-fiction book about a year-long journey to an island in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay titled “Chesapeake Requiem.”

“I love nonfiction so reading about something that is real and true and someone who’s out there trying to solve a problem is what piqued my interest,” said Jessica.

After her sixth-grade graduation, Jessica went on to attend public middle school and high school in Douglas County, GA.

After high school, she received her bachelor of arts in sports administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, her master’s in sports management from the University of Alabama, and she’s now working on her Ph.D. in sports administration at the University of Louisville.

“I would love to teach and research sports in higher ed,” said Jessica. “I’ve found a lot of discrepancies between what I’ve done in practice and what I’ve learned in the classroom. I’m hoping to change the dialogue and apply my research in a practical sense. I don’t want to just read and write for the sake of it. I actually want to implement some change and see things happen.”

Problem-solving and problem-seeking are skills that Jessica picked up here at TCS.

“I take these seemingly unrelated things and find the problem and then hope to implement some sort of solution. Yeah, thanks TCS for throwing me down this crazy rabbit hole that’s really entertaining and really interesting!”

In addition to academic success, Jessica also points to the school’s dedication to social-emotional skills through the Building Character and Community (BCC) program and commitment to all forms of diversity for helping her to transition from TCS and thrive in middle school, high school, and beyond.

“I didn’t have any problem making friends. I was able to jump right in and be myself and goof off and be really caring and polite. Those are the things I owe to being here at The Children’s School because those are the (school’s) core values.”

“The other really cool thing about The Children’s School was being exposed to a diverse group of students. In a small town where I went to school, it wasn’t hard identifying with someone who was new or someone who was different from me.”

So many of Jessica’s favorite childhood memories happened right here at The Children’s School, and she considers herself incredibly fortunate to have spent nine years here.  

“I can talk about TCS all day,” said Jessica! “I always say, ‘I went to the coolest school where I learned everything and made incredible friends.’ You don’t get this atmosphere anywhere else.”