Saturday, June 20, 2015

True Leaders Are Everywhere In Our Schools

"To lead people, walk beside them. As for the best leaders, the people do not notice their existence ... When the best leader's work is done, the people say, 'We did it ourselves!'" – Lao Tsu, Chinese philosopher 

As the sun sets on another school year, promotion exercises and graduation ceremonies are upon us. It's the time of the year when principals, superintendents, distinguished guest, and student speakers are placed in front of large crowds to offer a message for others to hopefully remember.  They are the ones that are remembered for their powerful speeches and all that they do for the school. Yet, the ones that truly deserve the recognition, are often the ones hidden in the crowd.

Think for a moment of who sent out all the invitations, ordered the diplomas/cap and gowns, organized the website for live streaming, set up the student seating charts/walking procedures, and placed the chairs/tables on the floor. Who labored through an entire year dealing with various questions, and specifications for that one special night? Was it just the superintendent or principal? No, it is the numerous other leaders in the building that make these magical nights happen.  Yes, I am talking about the teachers, secretaries, custodians, and IT department!

Each year, I am blessed to work in a school that is clearly, OUR school.  These individuals put their blood, sweat, and team pride into their projects to make US have one of the best ceremonies around.  They do it, because the students deserve nothing but the best. And at the completion of it all, they all look around and say, "Wow, that was great, but how can we make it better next year?" This is true staff leadership/voice at its finest, as they have such a strong desire to imagine new innovative ways to better each other.

I am very grateful for those that I work with, and appreciate how we all have respected voices in the process.  We all make each other better, which in turn creates an incredible place to work.


If you are interested in watching an HD 1080p broadcasting of an 8th grade promotion ceremony, please watch the following.  Thanks @Alengman 
My Speech for 2015:

Good Evening 

I would like to a take a moment to thank our mayor, Erland Chau, Assemblyman Mazzeo, our distinguished guests, our amazing parents, Mrs. Vaccaro, Mrs. Dye, Board of Education members, and our outstanding staff who make our school one of the finest in the state. 

I would also like to take a moment to thank my mentor, and our interim superintendent, Mr. Robert Garguilo for his relentless dedication, support and leadership to our great community.
Tonight, Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my distinct pleasure to present to you the class of 2015.

For the majority of you, the past nine years, our school, has been your second home. I am sure that it probably felt like it was just yesterday, when you walked into your kindergarten classroom for the first time. Through good times and rough times, our staff and your classmates became part your family.  Yet, little did you realize, that as you grew, the staff in the school grew with you. Their desire, and passion to see that you received nothing but a top notch education became stronger, because of who you were becoming: young future leaders who want to make a positive difference in our world.  

Albert Einstein once stated,  “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is to not stop questioning.”  I ask that you never stop embracing the notion of Wonder. It is your curiosity, imagination and willingness to challenge status quo that will truly change the world.  In your days ahead, I promise that you will be asked numerous times, what do you want to do for a living? Yes, this a question that will not escape your future. Even as you sit here tonight, I am sure that some of you are probably wondering this very question right now.  However, the question that I wish to instil upon you is, What problem in the world do you want to solve? Think for a moment of all the times you watched the news, read about your social media pages, and wondered why does that happen.  Yet, it continues to happen over and over again.  With wonder, curiosity and imagination, you all have an opportunity to make a difference, and leave a mark on this world that could always be remembered.  Yet, as you grow older, these traits begin to shrink, because of tradition and status quo. I urge you to never surrender these traits as they may be the key to unlocking some of the world’s biggest mysteries.  

No matter where you are in the future, you will be faced with many challenges, and I encourage you to look into your years of education at NCS and remember how much you have grown and who you truly are. Ignore negative people, and lean on your true friends who stand by you through trying times. Even when you are questioned as to why you are challenging the notion of status quo, do not forget that in order to solve our problems, you cannot use the same thinking that created them.  

Continue to make us proud, and always remember that you are ready for any situation that presents itself to you.  

Yes, the speech my be short, but as my mentor, Robert Garguilo always says, "Be brief, be bold, be gone." 

Congratulations to the Class of 2015!