The Aspirations is a central theme in campus culture and recognizes that peer influences for adolescents are more powerful than most adult influences.
Therefore, GBA has created a living culture in which the large majority of girls, particularly those in residence 5 months or longer are “vested and emotionally committed” to creating quality relationships. Newer girls are “absorbed” into this environment.
This powerful vibe or spirit as well as positive individual experiences pervasively changes deep level beliefs and values.
The Aspiration Council of student peers with staff advisors leads the culture.
They meet several times a week to evaluate the culture and to meet with girls individually. They provide specific recommendations and encouragement to help students progress. You can view below a description of how this works.
“A year ago, my family and friends thought I wouldn’t graduate high school – and look, I did it!”
Five Aspirations of Relationship
Description of The Aspirations:
Aspirations guide students to develop their Relational (Altruistic) Self rather than the Egoistic (Hedonistic) Self.
Aspirations is a system to acquire character virtues required for healthy relationships and to assess students’ progress.
Acquiring virtues is necessary for healthy maturation and therapeutic growth.
The system includes five Aspirations to specific virtues or attributes that students work on and inculcate one at a time.
The five Aspirations are: Respect and Gratitude, Courtesy and Compassion, Empathy and Forgiveness, Humility and Honor, and Trust of self and others.
Each Aspiration is broken down into emotional, mental and behavioral criteria that define and enliven what the student is aspiring to be.
Students must demonstrate an inculcation of each virtue before moving to the next virtue with assessments and recommendations made by a council of peers and adults.
As the student progresses from one aspiration to the next, they receive additional relational opportunities and privileges with peers, staff, visitors, parents and friends.
How students progress through the Aspirations
Each Aspiration has behavioral, emotional, and spiritual objectives to incorporate into the Relational Self and each student who arrives at Greenbrier begins with Respect.
The Aspiration council meets frequently with the student to collaborate on how to attain a particular aspiration and when to move to another aspiration, stay at the present aspiration or return to a previous aspiration.
Students self assess their progress with the council and specifically review which aspiration criteria they do well and which are problematic. The Council tells students which criteria need improvement to inculcate the Aspiration and qualify them to move to the next Aspiration.
A summary of the relevant points of the meeting, which includes directions about which Aspiration criteria need improvement, are communicated to the student’s individual therapist and group therapist by the staff member of the Council. The student also reviews her own notes with the individual therapist in their next meeting.
The individual therapist uses the criteria diagnostically, working with the student to remove identity/belief barriers and to create new capabilities/strategies helping the student inculcate the Aspiration. The group therapist uses the information to organize their group activities and curriculum to help individuals with their Aspirations.
The entire student body periodically votes on whether to move each student to another Aspiration. Staff also vote.
Each student’s therapist is responsible for the student’s movement through the Aspirations.
A student is not therapeutically ready to graduate from Greenbrier until she has spent significant time on the Aspiration of Trust.