It’s been 9 years since our kids first started going to the “TIDE Academy” with Chelsea. I use quotes when I write that because, at the time, TIDE was more of a concept than a concrete school solution. Back in the day, it was just a few kids outside in her backyard enjoying the Costa Rican weather and trying to keep Moxie (the dog) from eating their lunches as they studied and he wandered around entertaining everyone. Chelsea was the only teacher. I’m pretty sure our parents thought we were crazy.
Jacob was in 3rd grade his first year at TIDE. During that first experimental year, we had absolutely no idea that almost a decade later Jacob would still be a TIDE Academy student and that he would end up graduating High School in Tamarindo at the end of his final Fall Semester. Some people have called us “lucky” because of the way our life has played out these past 10 years, but we believe that we have made unconventional choices, sacrificed a ton, and put enormous energy and thought into crafting our direction and decisions with vision, creativity, flexibility, and determination to sculpt our path. The kids have done the exact same thing with school and it’s been amazing for all three of them. They’ve missed a lot of conventional High School experiences each year, but they’ve experienced so much beyond what a huge public school can offer them and they’ve learned to find the joy and appreciate both varieties of learning. Jacob’s Senior year in Costa Rica has been anything but conventional and he loved every minute of it.
This past Friday evening, Jacob officially graduated from TIDE Academy. Chelsea and Adam both gave beautiful speeches about how Jacob has grown and also stayed exactly the same, true to himself and always full of joy. They both spoke of the influence and support that our entire family poured into the TIDE Academy for the last 10 years and ultimately, they celebrated Jacob’s amazing accomplishment of wrapping up at TIDE and heading off to college at Colorado Mesa University next Fall. Jacob will also graduate in Colorado from his High School there (Ralston Valley) this coming Spring, but TIDE is the school that had the longest and most powerful impact on his entire scholastic career. He did the majority of Elementary school, Middle School, and High School right here in Tamarindo at the same school every year. The location for TIDE did change 4 times over the years, but the theme and experience always remained the same.
I think December was the “Month of Jacob” this year and he’s deserved every moment of it. Both Ben and Abby have received the honor of being a TIDE Student of the Month during their career and Jacob always reminded us that he was yet to receive that honor. To his surprise, in his final month at TIDE, Jacob was awarded the December 2021 Student of the Month honor and it was well deserved. They accredited his humor as well as the joy he brings to every class every day as a part of the recognition and I couldn’t agree more. Jacob was genuinely excited to receive the award and it proudly hangs in our office at the house here in Costa Rica.
To add a little more to the Month of Jacob, the evening of his graduation was also an all-school talent show and Jacob and his friend Eric performed a flawless Beachball Ballet together and ended up taking home the top prize as winners of the talent show for 2021. Everything came up roses for his last weeks at school. He even finished with a 4.0 for his last semester, the first time ever! I was very proud of him, it was just a small token of his commitment and dedication to TIDE and his experiences.
And now we’re about to head back to Colorado to start the second semester of school after the holidays. It’s a heavier departure this time around as this is Jacob’s final long stay in Tamarindo for the foreseeable future. Next Fall, he’s going to college and swimming on their swim team, so he will have one short week off in the Fall, just like Ben did, to come down and visit us over Thanksgiving break. He’s going to have to say his own goodbye to what he has always known here in Costa Rica. I know he’s really excited for his next chapter, but I also know how much he loves living down here, so I’m sure there will be many emotions and mixed feelings as he transitions. We are going to miss him deeply next Fall when it’s just Abby, Erin, and I, but that will also be a new chapter and an experience I am really looking forward to.
We are so grateful for TIDE, especially Chelsea, Emily, Olga, and Adam, and all of the experiences that have made it such a valuable and unique environment to learn and grow up in. We are so proud of Jacob’s path, where he came from, and where he is headed. He is one of the most determined people I’ve ever met and his joy and light shines upon everyone he meets. Go get ’em, Jacob, you’ve got incredible things waiting for you in your future. Now rise, be brave, loyal, and true.