Cole Stevens, Bay’s Student Activities Coordinator, is gearing up for a busy fall with his Social Events Club leading the way. Bay students can look forward to upcoming events such as dances, Spirit Week, Clubs Fair and pumpkin carving. Cole took a break from his activity planning to talk about how his experience as a student at Bay paved the way for his return as a Staffulty member.
After graduating from Bay, Cole continued to be impacted by two core values he had cultivated as a student at Bay: mindfulness and gratitude. “The idea of developing a space between the events that happen and the emotions that you feel about them has helped me both react better to situations and foresee possible areas of conflict,” he says of his mindfulness practice. Another lesson he took beyond Bay’s classrooms was the idea of gratitude. “My eyes really became open to how lucky I was growing up,” he says of his time at Bay. The gratitude he developed for all the opportunities available to him helped to support him in college and afterward when times were difficult or stressful.
In his current work teaching 9th-Grade Seminar and Student Leadership Workshops, Cole teaches the students about both mindfulness and gratitude and how they relate to leadership through self-reflection, discussions, and group work. He finds that his job pushes him to keep his own Bay values at the forefront. “I use gratitude and mindfulness to help center myself during stressful times and stay true to myself and the purpose of a given activity,” he says. “Using these Bay values helps me keep the perspective that the most important thing is growing and cultivating the best version of myself that I can be, which helps me be more comfortable embracing mistakes and staying in a growth mindset. Ultimately, this is what we ask the kids to do: to be willing to make mistakes, learn from them, and grow.”
Cole’s experience as a former Bay student facilitates his ability to connect with and encourage current Bay students. He says his Bay graduating class “knew the community they had was special” and took pride in being students at Bay. “Increasing the pride in what Bay is and reaffirming what Bay’s values are, that’s what drove me when I was here, that’s what I did my Senior Project about, so coming back to teach that, it felt right.”
“Working with the kids is great,” he says. “When I think back to my student experience I think about how can I empower these kids to make them feel like I felt when I was here, to have ownership over their club or their event.” He says he is still working on that, but in the meantime, he was happy to be introduced as “Cole Stevens, the fun-bringer,” during a student tour. “I like the sound of that,” he says.