Class of 2021
His Vision: Allowing the vision to continually evolve alongside his own passions and interests.
When we approached Chayton to share his Green School journey, he hesitated. “I’m still figuring out what I want to do with my life,” he told us. Perfect. These are exactly the stories we need to share.
It’s an all too common misconception among graduates that they must have their life’s purpose figured out before they walk on stage to receive their diplomas. At Green School, we love when our students, like Chayton, graduate with an open mind. When they continue to follow their curiosities and interests. Those interests become the seeds that grow into a life of meaning and purpose and – in Chayton’s case – even an actual forest.
Chayton recently co-founded Junglo, a company focused on reforestation and recovering native ecosystems in Indonesia, with his friend and former teacher at Green School, Pak Mo. “Planting a tree is so rewarding,” he says. “I really appreciate nature and trees and it’s cool to build forests knowing that in 20 years there will be giant trees there for someone else to enjoy, and that I had a hand in bringing back a little bit of biodiversity somewhere.”
While he enjoys his work with Junglo, he continues to keep his options open in terms of what career path he might explore next. “For me, it’s not like I woke up one day and knew my life purpose was to restore all the forests in the world. Working on Junglo came from a random opportunity that sounded interesting and fun, so I said yes.”
“I’ve now known Chayton for close to a decade. Ever since he was a kid, all the way until today,” explains his co-founder. “He is one of the most curiosity-driven persons I’ve ever met. It seems like he never lost that sense of wonder that is so present in all young children – he is still that kid that’s constantly asking, ‘Why?’ It’s his super power.”
At Green School, our extraordinary teachers, like Pak Mo, lead by example when instilling a life-long love of learning in their students. “So many of our teachers weren’t always educators, but did a lot of different jobs before coming to Green School,” explains Chayton. “They have all of this cool experience to share, so you can learn a lot from just talking with them about life.”
This philosophy of seeing every new experience and challenge as an opportunity to learn something new – about yourself as much as about the subject at hand – is something Chayton really took to heart. During his 12 years at school, he took every opportunity to get his hands dirty and try something new. His school projects included building an artificial coral reef, learning to refine used cooking oil into biofuel, experimenting with insects as a sustainable food source, exploring soil microbiology and regenerative farming practices, and deep-diving into the uses and benefits of fermentation, which was the focus of his senior year Greenstone presentation.
Chayton working on his fermentation – or “FermenChaytion” – project in the Green School iHub
One of the most impactful memories from his time at Green School took place during a student service trip to Raja Ampat. Chayton remembers sitting around with his teachers at night and talking about life, asking the big questions and sharing each other’s perspectives.
“That moment really left an impression on me,” he says, reflecting on how his teachers – during the trip and in day-to-day interactions at school – always spoke with students as equals. It’s a dynamic that intentionally empowers students to take responsibility for their learning – one of Green School’s iRespect values. It also creates an environment where deep discussions about life, goals and purpose take place more naturally.
Today, Chayton is excited to be working with Mo on Junglo, which has already planted four native forests in Indonesia using the Miyawaki Method. Eventually, he hopes the project can help restore more natural beauty and biodiversity to the country he’s called home for most of his life.
Pak Mo and Chayton present to Green School students about the Miyawaki Method of reforestation
His advice to students everywhere is to do the same. “It might sound cliche, but you should really just do whatever you enjoy, or even just think you would enjoy. Try it out – even when it might be more tempting to go to the beach. You might do it, and it really sucks, but you will learn something in the process, and that alone is so valuable.”
“Being open to learn and experience just about anything, has opened up countless opportunities for Chayton,” emphasizes Mo. “It’s been such a privilege to see his growth and I can’t wait to see where else his curiosity will take him in the years to come.”