In 1966 then Senator Robert Kennedy (D-N.Y.) visited South Africa in the midst of some of the worst years of Apartheid. His speech, known as “Ripples of Hope” at the University of Cape Town, which some historians believe was the best of his life, Sen. Kennedy described a better future for all and the role and responsibility of all of us in making it happen:
“Each time a man stands up for an ideal or acts to improve the lot of others or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.“
Senator Kennedy used his visit and speech as an opportunity to spread his message of HOPE to inspire and empower others. With no attempts to parallel or compare to RFK, however greatly inspired by RFK, his life’s efforts, and his message of HOPE, I was recently honored by the Association of Wisconsin School Administrators (AWSA) as the 2016 Associate Principal of the Year. At the awards ceremony, I took my own opportunity to make my own ‘ripples’ and share my message of HOPE. A message and concept that I believe is very important, dare I say critical, to the profession of education and those who have dedicated their lives to it. Below is an excerpt from my speech about HOPE:
“I want to leave you today with one word…a word that drives me every day…and that word is HOPE. This school year Mr. Damian LaCroix, Superintendent of the Howard-Suamico School District (@DLHSSD1), challenged all of us to read a book about HOPE called “Making Hope Happen” by Dr. Shane Lopez (@hopemonger). In his book Dr. Lopez defines HOPE, what it does, and why it is so important. After reading the book, reflecting on its message, and discussing it with colleagues, I now define HOPE to mean — HOPE = DREAMS + DETERMINATION.
HOPE is powerful, it isn’t wishful thinking or optimism alone…it is the confluence of beliefs that: (1) The future will be better than the present; (2) I have the power to make it so; (3) There are many paths to my goals; (4) None of them will be free of obstacles. HOPE takes vision, optimism, aspirations AND hard work, creativity, passion, perseverance — it take DREAMS + DETERMINATION.
It is my HOPE to make a difference in the lives of my students, their families, my teachers, and my community.
It is my HOPE to be an effective and impactful leader, who works tirelessly for others, challenging, supporting, and inspiring them to grow.
It is my HOPE that I am an agent of change in education.
It is my HOPE that our profession of education will one day be controlled and driven by educators, not politicians.
It is my HOPE to help lead a revolution in how we do education and schools – updating our practices to reflect our students’ future, not our pasts.
It is my HOPE to continue efforts to transform how we professionally develop our teachers – they want it and deserve it.
It is my HOPE to continue to learn and grow everyday. To never settle for good enough.
It is my HOPE to continue to be a connected educator – dedicated to learning, expanding, and influencing others through my Professional Learning Network (PLN) through Twitter, Voxer, my blog, conference presentations, etc.
It is my HOPE to come to work every day with the same level of passion and zest for my job that I had as a new teacher on my first day of school.
It is my HOPE to inspire others.
It is my HOPE that I can look back at the end of my career and know that I have made a difference.
And…it is my HOPE…that you will join me!