Making Today Count: Student Achievements Come with Perseverance
The month of November brought unusual weather – warm, spring-like temperatures partnered with cold, frosty temperatures. One day I watched our elementary students comfortably wearing shorts as they played outside at recess. The next two days brought cold weather necessitating hats and long pants during outside recess. The following day it was warm again, with students wearing shorts – or sweating in their long pants as they ran around the playground. My 11-year old son repeatedly asked to wear shorts to school since he was anticipating warmer temperatures, even during the 30-degree days!
During the month of November our students experienced many great successes worthy of recounting in this November blog. I continue to feel pride each time a teacher shares a particular student success with me, or a group of students achieve a certain established goal. Several weeks ago I attended the high school performance of 12 Angry Jurors. I was completely astounded at the talent of our students, who performed their roles exceptionally well during the performance. On stage they truly appeared to be adults, with remarkable skill sets for acting; I needed to continually remind myself that they were indeed students!
Along these lines, our students also demonstrated success outside of the school setting through numerous Boy Scout achievements (I’m privileged to hear about them from our parents), group community projects conducted through clubs and other extracurricular areas, and our fall athletic teams. In November, Mr. Roger Czerwinski, our Athletic Director, highlighted at a Board Meeting the many athletic accomplishments of our students this fall, ranging from titles and awards earned in soccer, field hockey, cross country, golf, tennis, football, and volleyball. The list could go on if we were listing individual student and team accomplishments. It was exciting to witness our students showing incredible strength and perseverance by playing strong throughout the entire season. As demonstrated by all of our athletic award-winning teams, our students consistently modeled perseverance, resiliency, and a growth mindset. In general, the ability of our students to push themselves through using a growth mindset is noteworthy, a testament to the numerous individuals who continually contribute to the development of our students – parents, teachers, coaches, advisors, and community members.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with a student about her success in school, both with academics and on the athletic field. She provided a comment that reflected positively on her implementation of a growth mindset for achieving success: “I believe that success is not final, and failure is not the end … It’s the courage to continue that counts.” She noted that her grandfather repeatedly offers reminders that success comes from never giving up, and having the courage to continue moving forward even in the midst of failure. I responded that her grandfather was indeed a wise man who has clearly experienced success. Carol Dweck, author of the well-known book, Growth Mindset: The Psychology of Success, notes, “If parents want to give their children a gift, the best thing they can do is to teach their children to love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy effort, and keep on learning.” This is such good advice – for use not only with my two sons, but also within the larger community.
I encourage you to apply this advice to your children, to your students. As noted by Thomas Edison, “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” These are meaningful words for all of us.