Deliberate Life

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My second born just completed his Deliberate Life speech. As a Brookstone senior, it is a rite-of-passage. But it is more than a speech – more than a project. It’s choosing to live deliberately.

Inspired by a quote from Henry David Thoreau, our Deliberate Life projects seek to challenge our seniors on an entirely different level than a typical senior research paper or project.

Thoreau says, “I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate himself by conscious endeavor…I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and to see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

Using this as inspiration, all of our seniors choose a mentor to help guide them in a personal project, internship or experience – the options of which can really be limitless.

My senior chose to make a documentary. His elective courses during his time here at Brookstone, really developed a love of film-making in his heart, so he knew he wanted to pursue that, but choosing a subject allowed him to combine two of his passions into one project.


Last summer, he traveled to Colorado to volunteer as a Work Crew member at Frontier Ranch, a Young Life camp. He spent four weeks on an outdoor crew – shoveling snow, hauling rocks, and raking gravel pathways to keep the camp as pristine and as beautiful for the hundreds of campers that spend a week there through out the summer.

While there, armed with his GoPro camera, he filmed much of his work, documenting both the mundane work and the highlights and interviewed six of his team members. He had hundreds of hours of incredible footage.


When he returned home, he began compiling the footage and adding to it, interviewing three girls from his class who spent a month on Work Crew at other Young Life camps around the country. He spent hours and hours editing and rendering to get the final product, coming in at a cool 52 minutes.

But the project did not stop there. He also had to write a paper and give a speech about the experience, which are in two completely different things, allowing him to have three very different perspectives on this same experience – making a documentary about his Work Crew experience. What an amazing learning opportunity and educational process he will never forget.

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Levi with his technical mentors, film teachers extraordinaire Maria Reed and Dan Quigley.


Levi with his Young Life mentors, Lauren Johnson, Columbus Area Director and Jeff Jones, Regional Director.



A snippet of a self-interview.

But let’s pause with the proud momma moment. It was not just Levi who presented today. There were four other amazing young men presenting, all pictured below. Each of them had his own story to tell and each was impressive in his own right.

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Levi Wolff, AJ Harris, Ben Smith, Asim Ahmed

AJ Harris spoke of what he learned while serving as a mentor to one of our first grade classes through our Seniors in the Classroom program. Ben Smith spent time learning the ends and outs of sales with Kittredge and Associates, an athletic apparel company in New York City, and Asim Ahmed, shadowed AFLAC president and Brookstone alum, Paul Amos, learning the importance of growing and understanding a healthy corporate and community culture. Each and every speech was fascinating, insightful and impressive and there is no doubt that these boys were forever changed by their experiences. I am so grateful Brookstone has given them this opportunity.

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AJ Harris working with his first grade students!



Ben Smith dining in NYC with his mentors from Kittredge and Associates.

Choosing to live deliberately – what a powerful and challenging concept for us all.


Proud Parents

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