THE POWER OF SHOWING UP

Something profound took place on Tuesday, November 6th, 2012. It was a true act of civic duty, an authentic exercise in democracy.

It was something that can change history and affect lives. It costs nothing. In fact, all a person has to do is show up.

It was on this day that a friend and I toured our City’s public High School.

Yes, there was also a Presidential election on that day, but a public school tour is no less important, no less dramatic. In fact, a sixty-minute walk-through of your local public High School might have more of an impact on your community than the person or the party who presides from the Oval Office.

To say that public schools are important would be an understatement of the highest degree. Our country has a unique system of instruction, one that has been called “the greatest American idea”. Unlike many of the world’s industrialized nations, our public schools are open to all children; free of charge and regardless of race, religion, income or learning style. They are microcosms of raw democracy; required by law to enroll all who apply and to provide the learning needs of every student — regardless of the space or complexities that are required to do so.

The reader may wonder how in the world a seemingly mundane school tour could be more dramatic than a Presidential election. The answer to this question can be found in the faces of Mr. Abdella’s History class, where we saw the diverse future of Meridian hanging onto his every word with laser-like focus, responding with intellectual comments and challenges that would rival the world’s greatest thinkers.

Indeed, it was dramatic to look into Mr. Berg’s Art class, where students were thoroughly engaged in the abstract creativity that is required of today’s modern, global economy; an economy that is based on scientific understanding while relying on the essential, complementary component of artistic innovation.

And, yes, it was dramatic to hear what was perhaps the most powerful lesson of the day, as Principal Victor Hubbard looked at us at the end of the tour and said, very thoughtfully, “Our students really do love to see visitors from the community.”

This wasn’t my first tour of a local school, but I left with the same, immeasurable impact that always occurs when I see “the greatest American idea” in action. I always tell people about these tours, and I do so with a profound hope that they, too, will visit one of our city’s schools and become inspired.

Inspiration is a powerful thing. It is larger than one person, even if that person is the President of the United States.

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About The Public School Warrior

I am a product of Mississippi's public schools.
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