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Our Story

Our Mission

We grow thinkers! We guide our young people on a journey of self-discovery, empowering them to nurture their passions and develop a vision of who they want to be in the world.

Through hard work, mistakes, and confrontation, they develop the skills to become the best versions of themselves .

Our young people emerge with a lifelong love of learning, possessing a mindset and toolbox to make a difference in our ever-changing world.

I Had to Start This School. Here is Why.
Andrea Nair, Co-Founder

During a recent tour with parents interested in our program, I was asked this common question, “What prompted you to start this school?”

I’ve answered this many times over the past five years but for some reason this time I was thinking more about my own journey as a young person. Yes, I did start this school because I felt the right program for my own children wasn’t available but I’m aware that some of my motivation to take on this mountain was because I didn’t want young people — namely young women — to go through what I did.

I remember distinctly being at a Twenty Under Forty award ceremony several years ago, hearing the speeches where the award-winners profusely thanked their parents for all the support and guidance they had provided. I was struck by this thought: At the time, I actually didn’t have anyone to thank for who I had become and where I was in my life. 

My parents were a source of care and they provided for me and certainly loved me. We also had a lot of fun during my childhood: listening to and playing music, road trips to visit family, and lots of time outdoors. What I realize now is that they didn’t have the skills for having a thoughtful conversation with me. I don’t recall them coaching me, providing guidance, asking questions, or offering insight into life or my future. 

I also didn’t have any teachers, coaches, or mentors doing that either. I’m chalking that up to my ability to do schoolwork well so nobody needed to intervene, I generally kept to myself, and I didn’t know how to ask for help.

It’s not surprising that without a guide at hand, my twenties were wrought with disasters, people treating me badly, and embarrassing behaviour. It is painful for me to think about who I was back then.

It was a series of awful and sometimes scary experiences that awoke me to this question: Do I want to continue to live like this?

The answer to that in combination with a serious cancer diagnosis for my mom drew me into a cycle of questioning and self-improvement. With determination to alter the course of my life and what was possible for me, the work I did in the decades after that taught me you can really choose to change your life, choose how you see things, and choose to be better. 

I ended up quitting my permanent high school teaching job in my late twenties, giving up my “golden handcuffs,” to pursue answers to the big questions I was thinking about: Why did my mom get sick? Why do people do what they do? How does the brain work?

My eyes were opened in the Master’s degree program I completed in Counselling Psychotherapy to how resilient and capable people can be and also what can really hold people back from being happy and leading a fulfilling life. 

Using my degree as a launching pad, I took courses, read books, sought out helpers, and stepped out into the world with a fresh start. In my thirties I practiced my new communication skills with my mom, leading us to a deepening of our relationship. Just as we were on a roll, full of love for each other, and as I was entering a marriage myself, she passed away. 

In the two years following, I ended up giving birth to my first son, moving provinces, starting a business with my husband, and renovating a house. I mention these events because this was a phase where my new-found abilities were stretched beyond their limits — I did on a few occasions crumple from the weight of it all.

The reality is that adversity, tragedies, and shocking things do happen. Tough problems to solve, messy situations that require decisions to be made, and people treating us harshly occur. My schooling did not prepare me for any of this. None of what I can do now I attribute to my school experience. 

Since I have left grade school and gone to the “school of hard knocks,” I have learned that:

You can lose the people you love the most and still have a happy life. (My Dad passed away, too)

You can heal.

You can decide to stop looking at life with a glass half empty.

You can learn pretty much anything; including how to be a better person.

You can grow to be better at critical thinking, which is paramount in life.

You can live with intention — reflecting, gaining awareness, being who you are, and continually improving how you operate and interact in the world. 

You can learn how to adopt new habits that help you achieve your goals. And these habits help you grow a strong character and make good decisions.

You can make goals that aim higher than you even think is possible.

And you can do hard things.

Can you imagine believing these things BEFORE you graduate from high school?

I want parents to understand that this isn’t just a school program, it’s a thriving-at-life one. Don’t send your children here just hoping they are going to be successful or “happy” but because you want them to feel confident stepping boldly into whatever life will throw at them and that the sky really is the limit. Also send your children here because you want whatever gifts they have to shine through rather than being diminished or lost at the hands of others. 

So I guess the answer to the question of why I started this school is because my own children needed it and because I want your children to get their launch pad now rather than in the middle or the end of their lives.

The Next Chapter
Eric Brown, Co-Owner

My son returned home yesterday with a small toy compass and needed to show me right away. 

With a smile, I asked, “Do you know what this does?” 

“Yeah dad.” He paused, “It tells me where and when I am.”  

“What do you mean by when?” I asked. 

He laughed a little: “It tells me when I am! Now let’s see where I go!” 

Infinity School means so much to me and my family. It has helped me confront and reevaluate the power of direction, expectation, and a community that shares the same ‘why’. 

After hearing about Acton from a co-worker in my old English department, I was curious. Her invitation was clear:this is a place where the adults do not get in the way of the young people and their learning. When I went to the website and dug into Acton, to be honest, I did not believe it. I did not believe it was true.

Walking up the stairs for an interview, I was startled by the truth: two middle schoolers in suits closing the door to the now project room and grilling me for forty-five minutes.

It was then that I understood they had something here— that these young people could reach a different type of potential. 

What I learned along the way (and did not know then) was their passion came from defending something that was truly theirs— the school. 

This I learned the hard way…

Early on, a learner told me: “why are you explaining this? I can figure it out myself and I haven’t decided if you are correct about this yet.” 

In my first month, I had trouble with my impulse to rescue. In calling a founding parent, they interrupted me: “I know you are well intended but you are preventing my child from learning from gravity.”

I had trouble stepping back when a learner in a difficult time continued to make poor choices. I worried that the voted-in leader’s firm but patient persistence would not be enough for the learner. It all became clear to me when the natural consequences to their actions and unconditional peer support led them to become a voted-in leader themself.

They became one who truly understood the value of persistent boundaries and patience during difficult times. They would laugh a little when having to help someone in this way: “It wasn’t that long ago that I was here, you know.” 

I made a long list for a discussion on giving tours, just for a learner to sum everything up in one phrase: “How do they want to grow? How they answer that questions tell us everything we need to know.”

Having to confront so many beliefs I took for granted, I was moved to tears by a story of another traditionally trained teacher that found Acton: 

“It’s as if all my life I’ve been observing caged tigers, believing I understood them. Today for the first time I saw the magnificent creatures living free. Free tigers are not the same as caged tigers and I will never forget the difference.”

Above all else, what I had to learn the hard way was that courage is the bedrock of it all— the courage to test your thoughts out in the world; the courage to try something new; the courage to believe in things; the courage to safeguard something special. 

After graduation last year, Andrea the Co-Founder shared: “Today has showed Vin and I that you have the courage to be the next person to sail this ship.” I said: “Then perhaps this is how it is meant to be. Only Vin and you had the courage to build it.” 

To this day it startles me what our young people can do with their own space. 

Just last week, my son did his own schoolwork unprompted one day on the weekend. He ran an impromptu presentation one morning for my family, showing us how to fold a crab from paper. He once gave a parent a tour of the school (wearing a Darth Vader mask), simply because she came into the foyer during beforecare. 

This is not to say his learning journey has been easy— this has come from being unprepared, facing complicated thoughts and mindsets, and many moments where he could have made better choices in navigating his peers. These outcomes are from these experiences; these outcomes are from him understanding that his choices have power. 

This journey and its work has never been easy. Nor will it become so. The same sea that can be utterly unforgiving, can the next moment sail you to places you never thought you could reach. No challenge will be quite like the last and those around us will far too quickly resort to what is good enough or expected because it is easier.  

That sea is within each of us and is the world we navigate through as a school. 

All of this struggle is worth it because of what we defend: 

“School was pretty hard for me at the beginning. My mother taught me how to read before I got to school, and so when I got there I really just wanted to do two things: I wanted to read books, because I loved reading books, and I wanted to go outside and chase butterflies.  You know, do the things that five year-olds like to do.

I encountered authority of a different kind than I had ever encountered before, and I did not like it. And they really almost got me. They came this close to really beating any curiosity out of me.” —Steve Jobs 

And with that, I promise to continue the story that Andrea and her family were brave enough to begin. To safeguard a place that believes where our young people are in their learning is simply a matter of when in their own journey; a place where they can find a life calling because everyone around them knows no calling is to the same.

We give the keys of the school to the capable and brilliant young people that we call heroes. 

Let them build their vision.
Simply give them the parts.
Let it fall.
They will make it stronger.
We cannot expect them to learn enough
from something that is not theirs.