February 2, 2017
I do not know Silvia Pencak. I do not know if I share her beliefs or her values. But I know that I agree with her definition of character. According to Ms. Pencak, “Character is how you treat people who can do nothing for you.” As I reflect on this quote, I remember a YouTube clip I shared in a recent Principal’s Praises.
The clip personifies the message of Ms. Pencak’s quote with a bit of a twist. In an effort to not spoil the message of the clip, I will not reveal its detail. I encourage you to take three minutes to watch it. 30 Years Ago
According to John C. Maxwell, “Leadership is not about titles, positions, or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another.” Seven years ago the founders of SkyView Academy established five pillars upon which they built the school. The five pillars drew me to SkyView when I decided I to return to education.
When I assumed the role of the middle school principal, I identified three areas of focus for my first year. I desired first and foremost to ensure that no matter what choices my students made they would know they matter to me. Period. The other two areas I identified focused on service learning and leadership. Each serves as SkyView pillars. In an effort to prioritize my focus, I included a leadership elective at each grade level. When I shared my vision with Sr. Negron, I never dreamed what the students would accomplish under his direction.
Fast forward to January 2017, under the direction of Sr. Negron and Mrs. Meighan, our 8th-grade leadership classes planned, organized, and executed the first ever Hawks for Haiti. During their planning, they discussed ideas, thought through challenges, set goals, tackled obstacles, and learned priceless lessons. I could write pages upon pages of all I watched transpire within them. They did it. All of it. They knocked it out of the park.
In the end, their efforts will change lives. The orphans of Haiti will receive nearly two years of education. The orphans of Haiti cannot do anything for our students. But our students worked hard to support them knowing this. Did the week result in an academic grade? Did the week impact their report card? Did the week provide them answers to test questions? The answer to all three of these questions is obvious. But I would suggest that Hawks for Haiti further carried out the SkyView mission of life-long learning and sent it to another country.
Hawks for Haiti enlightened all of our students. It educated our students to the needs of others. It empowered our students. It provided them the opportunity to “Be the change” in our world. Many students stated that they gained a new appreciation for their own education. In honor of Black History Month, I close with a quote Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “Intelligence plus character-that is the true purpose of education.”
Honored to Serve You All,