Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Journey of a Cougar

It has been my honor to speak to every student who has walked across the stage as a graduate of Cinco Ranch High School.  What a great privilege it has been to celebrate with our students on this high point in their lives!  Our interactions range from a simple question of, “Is this you?” as I hand the student a name card for the reader to one last imposition as we check pockets for prohibited items to tear-filled hugs as we recognize the obstacles many of our kids have overcome.  What may seem at the time as a small, inconsequential exchange is actually the highlight of each school year!  I have the opportunity to represent each teacher, coach, librarian, counselor, custodian, paraprofessional, superintendent, landscaper, security guard, nurse, help-desk technician, school board member, school resource officer, and principal who has ever been involved with the education of the student and offer my congratulations.  We have all worked in our own unique way to ensure that each student whose name is called is prepared to succeed in the world outside of Cinco Ranch.

When thinking about my role at graduation, I am reminded of the words of Abraham Lincoln as he honored those who fought at Gettysburg, “The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.”  Graduation, as with all things in the school business, is not about what we, the adults, say, it’s about what the kids did!  Kids, and their parents, will not remember the speeches, songs or presentations of the ceremony—just that their name is called and they received a diploma.  Actually, graduation is not that much different than each day at school in this regard.  Each day, hundreds, if not thousands, of good people work hard to be certain that the kids of Cinco Ranch have everything they need to be successful.  Many more have been diligently working for a dozen years (or more) in support of these kids and others still striving for success.  As important as all this is, what people ultimately remember is the accomplishments of our students!

Isn’t this why we work from the time kids arrive that very first August until that very last June?  Our reward is that look of sheer, unadulterated joy when a kid first realizes he is successful and that all the hard work has paid off.  Sometimes that look happens in a small group in the corner of a classroom and sometimes it happens in a stadium in front of thousands.  We’ve seen the look after presentations, games, competitions and other public events, but my favorites are the private moments—when a special needs student learns to write her name; when a struggling mathematician finally learns the quadratic equation (and why it matters); when a pre-K student learns all the colors; when a young historian figures out why the Roman Empire fell and how it compares to the United States; when a budding research scientist determines what happens when you add water to acid; or when a developing writer has his work “published” on the classroom bulletin board.  It’s the small, everyday victories that make us all come back each day!

So, as we complete another year I want to thank each person who, “is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; …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 fails while daring greatly.”  

David Calfee, Assistant Principal "Proud Cougar for Life"