Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Service, Regardless

These are a few thoughts I shared at this year's JROTC Awards Assembly.

The mission of Ellison High School is to launch young people into successful adult lives of learning, service, and meaningful work.

I love that simple statement and all it encompasses, but I want to focus just on the element of service: What separates the most genuine, effective service from just another project, gift, or collection drive? The difference lies in the way service is framed in your mind, and your approach to those you serve.

The idea of Service, Regardless is conveyed in four points:

*Service Regardless of whether you know the person or people in need: Are you willing to cross that line and reach out to people you don't know (or perhaps don't fully trust yet) to help with a need you have the ability to meet?

*Service Regardless of whether you feel the person in need is deserving of your help: Are you willing to help people only as long as they meet with your approval? Can you extend service regardless of whether you feel someone deserves it?

*Service Regardless of whether the person in need can ever repay your help: Is there really anything special about giving time/help to someone, knowing the favor will be repaid? Doesn't everyone do that? The most enduring reward comes from service to those with no way to ever repay your effort.

*Service Regardless of whether anyone knows the help came from you, or whether you ever receive credit: It's certainly nice to be recognized, but are you willing to help others when no one knows you were even involved? Do you feel satisfaction at knowing a need was met, even if you remain anonymous?

Eagles, let me encourage you to begin right now living out the vision of service in your community, and as you do, remember the idea of Service, Regardless.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Our Counselors

Did you know this is National School Counseling Week?

What a joy to celebrate the wonderful Eagles who serve us in the role of School Counselor. We could not fulfill our mission without these dedicated educators:

*Milton Amundson
*Heather Bisson
*Juli Fischer
*Crystal Morris
*Sarah Noteboom
*Amy Picot
*Valerie Sather (Registrar)
*TyAnna Virdell

Our Counselors work directly with our students, our staff, and our students' families on a daily basis, celebrating the joys, working through the sorrows, and making sure our Eagles are on the right track for graduation. Countless students have turned to our Counselors for support in difficult times and through difficult decisions, and have found in our Guidance Office a caring, knowledgeable, and trustworthy guide.

We salute our Counselors this week, and we appreciate them every day.

Learn more about National School Counseling Week here.

Go Counselors!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Social Media & MLK

With a few quiet moments to reflect today, I am drawn to several recordings of Dr. Martin Luther King's speeches and sermons on Spotify.

In one speech, he makes a statement that sounds far more prophetic today, in the world of social media, than anyone could have imagined at the time Dr. King was speaking. Dr. King was talking about scientific advances that have enabled speedy travel throughout the world, and said this:

"Through our scientific genius, we've made of the world a neighborhood. And now, through our moral and ethic commitment, we must make of it a brotherhood. We must all learn to live together as brothers, or we will all perish together as fools."

Not even Dr. King could have imagined that our world-turned-neighborhood would someday empower us with the ability to send messages anywhere in the world, in an instant, to post opinions of others for all to see, and to create strong responses in real people with a click requiring little thought.

How are we using this power?

Certainly many people use their social media reach for good purposes. But how many use it for harm? Or use it without thought to the impact it can make?

Dr. King's message is just as true today: Our world-turned-electronic-neighborhood must now become a brotherhood, or we will fail.

I urge you to make a commitment to promote Dr. King's vision through your use of social media:

*Become an informed citizen.

*Be a peacemaker.

*Be an encouragement to others.

*Be a voice for the vulnerable and powerless.

*Celebrate the positive.

*Stand up for what is good and right.

*Make sure every post is something you would want an employer to see before a job interview.

I often comment that it will be interesting, in 20-30 years, to live in a world led by people who have had social media accounts since they were in middle school and high school. One of those leaders, in some form or fashion, will be you.

Use your social media influence to fulfill Dr. King's vision of a world-turned-neighborhood that grows into a family.