New Family Brings Enthusiasm and Focus to PRS

For twenty years, Karen Rae had a dream: she wanted her children to attend an extraordinary school, where RSE disciplines were incorporated as a regular part of the curriculum. The years passed, and her older three children grew up, while the Tauranga, New Zealand native continued to make regular trips to Yelm for RSE events. But this year, everything changed. After focusing on what she calls “the easiest card I ever made,” a small miracle happened: Rae won the green card lottery. Today, she has a house in Yelm and is living here with her ten year old son, William, who will be attending the Phoenix Rising School starting in September.

After carefully studying the PRS staff bios and hearing about the multi-age classroom concept, Rae describes herself as “incredibly grateful and excited for the opportunity, for William to be part of the community of such genius, loving minds. It’s great that you allow the children to be comfortable without having to fit into quite a tight expectation based on age rather than progress or achievement.” William meanwhile, says he is “excited about the new year and curious what it’s going to be like.”

Rae is equally inspired by the work that has gone into keeping tuition affordable and is “gratefully gobsmacked” at the school’s fees. “My commitment has always been for Wills to go to this school, so no matter how much it was financially I’d make it work because that’s the most important thing,” she explains. “But I had no idea what the fees were going to be. They’re unbelievably cheap for a private education. We looked at a huge private school locally in New Zealand. Without even boarding, the tuition fees were $20,000 per year. It’s just been amazing to my friends.”

Her friends have no doubt been getting quite an earful, and Rae’s enthusiasm is contagious. “People’s hearts are really open,” she says. “I’m talking about people who don’t even have kids, or if they have kids, they’re really old. When we got that email about how you could help the school for the cost of four lattes a month, I loved that! I’ve been telling everyone. How easy is it to waste ten bucks without even thinking about it. Instead, it can be helping a kid go to Phoenix Rising. It’s completely doable.”

The Raes’ journey has been remarkable in many ways, and is a clear demonstration of the power of focus. Once the doors to the U.S. had opened, they proved almost impossible to close. “I tried!” Karen explains. “I declined the green card at one stage because it just wasn’t working. It got to the point where you had to pay money. Our businesses hadn’t sold, our house hadn’t sold, and everyone in my reality was looking at me, saying, ‘When are we going, what are we doing?’ It was all about me getting everyone to America, and it just wasn’t the way I wanted to do it. I emailed the consulate and said, Thank you so much, but I’m declining the card.”

The consulate, however, refused to take no for an answer and insisted on keeping her application open until September. At that point, she made a decision. “I finally told my family, ‘I’m going. If anyone wants to come, I’d love them to come, but I’m going.’” She committed to attending last summer’s assay event at RSE, and immediately changes started to happen. Their house, which had been on the market “for ages”, suddenly sold.

By that stage, there was only one thing keeping the Raes in New Zealand. William had applied to be School Captain, an important and prestigious role that involved acting as a school leader, providing input on issues, and giving speeches. Everyone expected him to be elected, and if he were, they would have stayed. However, to everyone’s astonishment, another student was chosen. William explains, “Even the guy that got it and his mom came up and said, ‘I don’t know why or how I got it.’” Attempting to make the best of the situation, William went to his mom and simply said, “I guess we can go to America now.”

Karen’s husband Dean remains in New Zealand, wrapping up loose ends and selling the family business, and will be joining her and William, along with their 19 year old daughter as soon as possible. In the meantime, Karen and William are preparing for the new school year at PRS and, after twenty years, the fulfillment of a dream.

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0 #1 Amber 2011-09-13 03:36
WOW!! Well done to you Karen! We saw you on the live stream a couple of times this year - you are such an inspiration... good luck with you new reality there, see you on the next live stream! Amber and Patrick

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