As the final weeks of the school year slip by at increasing speed, it’s not unusual for us to become a bit nostalgic, remembering when our St. Michael’s “seniors” were young elementary students just starting out. Like all good parents, teachers and administrators also want to impart words of wisdom, advice, encouragement, and care, knowing that in a few months our graduates will begin again in the large world of high school. Today, I listened to an inspiring address to eighth-grade students and senior scholarship winners at the Casas Adobes Rotary Honor Roll Celebration, where four of our eighth graders were recognized. The strong words of advice given in the keynote address related to facing adversity. Naturally, we want our students to meet with success, to be winners, facing disappointment as infrequently as possible. On the other hand, we know in reality that they each will face challenges and adversity as they continue on in their education and in life.
Just as important as celebrating success, our children need to know how to fail. They need to know that occasional setbacks are part of life and can often make you stronger moving forward. When we can step back and take a look at the situation, a new course of action can be planned with an eye toward a better solution. Innovation and discovery come about through trial and error. After all, the old expression “if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again” continues to be the inspiration to stay the course and never give up.
Over the years of my being with and observing students, many of them have served as my heroes and inspiration. In working with children who have faced incredible challenges, either physically or academically, I have learned to persevere. These students have looked their challenges and adversities straight in the eye and have pushed forward with greater resolve. Their tenacity, perseverance, courage, and positive outlook inspire me and every teacher that has worked with them. Every day is a new day, and every day offers us a new opportunity to reach success. Life is full of peaks and valleys, highs and lows, victories and defeats. Having the ability to learn from these and to continue forward with greater resolve results in success and a deeper sense of accomplishment. This sense of grit will carry students forward to be their best. It’s this type of tenacity in the face of adversity that leads to success along the pathways of life. As Winston Churchill is famous for supposedly saying, “Never, never, never give up.”
Head of School