School Leader

Allison Willis-Holley

KIPP School Leader Allison Willis Holley

At KIPP Infinity, we often talk about the “Infinity Magic.” That motivation—to create something magical for kids, families, and staff—is what has fed my commitment for the last 10 years.

The Infinity Magic can be found in small things. The way our educators approach their physical space, for example. Every classroom is unique; every teacher takes such care in creating a magical place for kids to learn in. And the Infinity Magic can be found in big things too, like our annual non-fiction research fair.

This event is…it is this…you just need to see it! Our entire community gathers in the gym. Every student has a dedicated space and presents on a topic of their choosing.

Look to your left: a sixth grader is demonstrating boxing moves.

Look to your right: an eighth grader is talking about Stonewall and the LGBTQ movement.

And as you walk around, as you ask students questions and connect with families, you just feel this…energy.

Students passionately engaged in conversation about something that authentically interests them. After the individual presentations, we go the auditorium. With students, teachers, and families there, it is standing room only.

The house lights dim. Awards are given out: “Most Unique Topic;” “Best Research;” “Best Writing”—categories that span academics and character—and with each prize, the KIPPsters go crazy for someone else!

The entire auditorium erupts into screams and cheers and claps and whistles. We finish with the big prizes. The Top Ten. The Grand Prize Winner.

The atmosphere is electric.

On stage, the overall winner is presented with a laptop to fuel their life-long research. Learning is infinite.

When you see this event, it’s almost like…it’s almost like you have to remind yourself that the whole night has been about academics and the character that got them across the finish line. Everything about it—the energy, the electricity, the competition, the…geekiness!—it’s all about learning.

In these moments, I don’t know how to describe it. You forget that school is exhausting. You forget that teaching requires such emotional, physical, and intellectual energy. You forget about the thousands of things you have to do and the thousands of deadlines you have to meet.

You just remember that education is one of the most rewarding jobs on the planet.

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