Dear South High Families:
We’ve completed the first of four quarters--yet another measurement of the many metrics we use in education, and another reminder that the march towards the future--that walk across the commencement stage--waits for no one.
But, I want you to know our students are working hard and thriving. They’re doing so with the help of their peers and the grads who came before them--some recently and others decades away from that never-forgotten chapter called "high school."
On this journey to college and career, I am reminded every day that everyone's path is different, that there is no rush, no pressing need for students to know NOW what they'll do. The only thing they need to know is HOW they’ll do it.
I want our students to know if they're putting their all into school, into healthy relationships with friends and family and working at it, working HARD at it, this is the approach to life that will always work. If students are finding that school is challenging and they’re persevering, maybe they’re even struggling for that B or C, but they’re not backing away--then I have no doubt they’ll do fine.
However, if school is easy and getting A's and B's is practically effortless….I have to tell you, I’m worried. Rewards and growth are all about work and effort. Easy is not the thing that will bring you success, and it will not reap satisfaction. How you approach life, invest your time, your thoughts, your energy...this is what counts.
Let me tell you about the Honorable Judge Diane Humetewa. She’s the first Native American woman to ever sit the federal bench (and only the third Native American in history to do so). She shared her story with our students last week. You might think someone so extraordinarily accomplished thought about college and law since she was a schoolgirl. Well, that’s not her story.
She told our students that college, for her, was more or less an afterthought. First, however, she marveled at the Native American community here at South, telling them how fortunate they were to have each other. Her school was away from her home community of the Hopi Nation and her school’s Native American community was comprised of her own brothers and sisters and some cousins which amounted to a handful. When graduation came, she said she simply knew that her parents had two choices for her: go to work or go to college.
She said she thought work would be okay. She had done odd jobs like babysitting. She liked work. But, she ultimately decided to go to college, she said,"because that’s where my friends were going." When she got to college, she had no idea what she wanted to study. She also felt she was not great at math. But she continued in her college career and fell into an internship in a government law office and saw the plight of people in need of legal help. Up to that point, she had no thought of a career in law, but her approach to her school work was one that she could apply to her studies in law school.
She ended her talk asking what the basic skills our students thought they’d need. Together, our group came up with: speaking well, reading well, writing well. And, although Judge Humetewa didn’t say it, she’d probably agree, reasoning well comes in handy…as she did share that she spent an extra semester in college to tackle that math requirement.
Her point was, no matter what you know now about your future, or don’t yet know--what you can know is that these basic skills of reading, writing, speaking and reasoning will carry you into the future, along with doing your best, and finding a motivation and a passion that will put those skills to use.
So, as the judge attests, you don’t have to know WHAT…but you do have to know HOW.
I couldn’t agree more.
Carry this on to second quarter and beyond.