Friday, October 23, 2015

Inspired to Dare Greatly

Inspired to Dare Greatly

My CRHS journey began in 1999. While working as a secretary in the corporate world, I watched CRHS being built – approximately two miles from my home. My sons would go on to attend CRHS, so I thought it would be really cool to work there and be part of establishing this awesome new school for the Cinco Ranch community! I was so excited to be part of the original staff, moving in to this sparkling new building, watching hundreds upon hundreds of boxes, furniture, desks, and computers roll through the doors – an experience I will never forget! Those early years were different – fewer students and fewer staff, but the family feel was always present from the very beginning. During my first three years at CRHS, as an assistant principal’s secretary, I was so inspired by the positive energy of everyone I came in contact with each day that I returned to college part time, pursuing my undergraduate degree in history to become a teacher. It took me several years, but it was well worth it – my first real experience of daring greatly – returning to college at age…well, let’s just say I was not young. With a husband and two sons aged 13 and 10, it was a challenge to manage my time, but I was constantly inspired and encouraged by both my family and my CRHS family.

My move to the counselor’s office as a secretary turned out to be the most important one of my life. It was there, in the counselor’s office, where I discovered my true passion – a genuine pull towards a vocation I had not yet experienced in my life – to be a high school counselor. To say the 2002-2003 year was a particularly difficult one is an understatement. With the tragic death of not one, but two senior girls occurring weeks apart in the fall of 2002, I witnessed counselors, teachers, administrators, staff and students come together as a family as I have never seen before. We experienced many emotions, as you can imagine: shock, sadness, and profound grief to name just a few. That experience made an enormous impact on me. I realized I wanted to help students deal with the tragedies in their lives as well as the joys. I would like to think that both Leah and Dana would be gratified to know that their tragic passing was, in some way, the catalyst for such overwhelming inspiration in another life, and I know mine was not the only life they positively affected.

As I completed my teaching degree during my third year as a CRHS registrar (by far my most challenging job to date), and secured my first teaching position at CRHS as a world geography teacher, I found myself daring greatly again, stepping into the arena of the classroom. There I found inspiration each day from my fellow teachers, administrators and especially my students. I had the privilege of working with the newcomers, high school students who are attending school in the U.S. for the first time. These students amazed me with their bravery to suit up and show up every day to a school of 3,000 + students where they knew no one, AND where few, if any, spoke their language. Talk about daring greatly?! I continue to be inspired in my current position, KOLA teacher, as I work with students, some of whom face overwhelming obstacles as they strive to graduate…and speaking of graduation, mine is this December – WOO HOO! My family will see me cross the stage to get my master’s degree in school counseling. I will feel the spirit and encouragement of my CRHS family as I cross the stage – so many have cheered me on and inspired me along the way.

I am truly blessed to have been a part of this amazing place for the past 16 years. I believe we are the best high school in America (but I am prejudiced and a Cougar to my core!!) because we care about each other and are always striving to be better. In her book, Daring Greatly, Brene Brown quotes Theodore Roosevelt’s famous speech, “It is not the critic who counts…The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly…” I really love that inspiring quote! Did we strive valiantly but fall short in those early days of CRHS? You bet we did! Did I err, come short again and again while in my undergrad and grad school programs? Absolutely! Did my newcomers fail at times? Yes they did, but they failed while daring greatly. They, and countless other CRHS Cougars, past and present, continue to inspire me to dare greatly each and every day.

Robin Rolon, KOLA Teacher