It is with great excitement and enthusiasm that I return from winter break ready to work and ready to wrestle the challenges and issues that will arise in 2017! Don’t get me wrong: I enjoyed my time off and I am sure that your students did as well. It’s just that the work we do is so important, so critical, that it is hard not to be excited to be back.
Along those lines, in my last post, I reflected on our generous students and their impact with a couple of fundraisers. And while helping others might not be considered our main work as a school, it is still a significant part of who we are at John Champe High School, and as such, I wanted to take this opportunity to extend that prior notion just a little.
Every year since we have opened, an anonymous donor has made a financial contribution to the school for the purpose of helping students in need (technically, it’s not entirely anonymous as I know this person, but this person has insisted for various reasons that I not disclose their identity in return for the donation). I have struggled with this because this person’s generosity has helped us to do a lot of good things for students and families; the most recognizable thing is the Road to Success scholarships we offer each year for $2,000 based on student-need as much of the other charitable work is often unseen and behind the scenes.
Anyway, I decided to write about this because I just received a check today from this conscientious donor and again find myself wanting to recognize this person. On some level, blogging about this person somewhat fulfills that need because this person deserves some kind of recognition, even if it is anonymously because each year this person makes sure to set aside a sizable chunk of money for our community and asks for nothing in return. This person makes a point of remembering us, budgeting for us, and then mailing a check to us: I don’t take that for granted. While those actions might seem like small ones and the check the larger one, I’m sure that if you were to reflect on all of the “I want to” moments in your life that you didn’t fulfill because of our modern, frenzied existence, I think you would agree that this is no small gesture. Oftentimes it is the smaller actions that preclude us from delivering on the larger ones. And then on top of that, I don’t ask this person, I don’t remind this person. This person consistently does this of their own volition. Every year. That’s worth something.
And that got me thinking: we spend a lot of time around the holidays focused on goodwill and kindness but then it seems like the further away we get from New Year’s, the less focused we become. And so I know it sounds cliché and hokey, but I really hope that as a community we can commit to being kind year-round, not just when the holidays draw us together.
Anyway, January 3 was a great day back from the break. There was a buzz in the building, students were excited to be back, and teachers were energized; on top of that, I noticed all kinds of deliberate kindness throughout the day as well as even some random acts of kindness. My new year’s hope is that everyone can keep in mind that kindness is cool and that we maintain that level of care, compassion, and commitment towards one another in the second semester.