Several years ago, I was honored to give the commencement address at my alma mater. In preparing to address the attendees, I was struck with a sense of responsibility I had not previously considered to be associated with such a speech. I realized that I had been given the opportunity and responsibility to put the period at the end of a 13-year long educational upbringing.
After considering all the important points, the challenging remarks, and motivational stories I could share, I lifted my head from desk and began to reflect on my time in the classroom as a student and on the remarks made at my graduation. My college basketball coach, Morris Michalski spoke at my high school graduation. I do not remember everything about it, but I have always remembered that he challenged us to hold on to the relationships we had, and to value the people in our lives.
In my address, I shared that many of the most important lessons we learn in school are never assessed on a high stakes test. They are not written in a text book, and they don't show up on our college applications. The lasting lessons (outside of a few academic components that really matter to us individually) are the ones associated with relationships with people. I can't recall many homework assignments I completed. I can't even remember many of the awards I won or the basketball games I played in. However, ask me who mattered and what people influenced my life during that time, and I don't even have to think. I regurgitate their name, the exact moment I knew that person cared about me or I cared about him/her, and I can probably tell you how we still keep in contact today. It may be a fellow classmate, a teacher, a coach, a mentor, a youth pastor, a neighborhood friend, a sibling, or a parent. My education, though standards aligned and research-based, was substantial and impactful because of the influence other people had on my life.
If you are in a position to interact with young people (and really, everyone is), remember that you have been blessed with an immense opportunity to make a difference in someone's life. I had high math scores because I was blessed with the genetic disposition to process numbers efficiently, but I have experienced success in life as a direct result of the impact other people have had on my life. I am forever thankful that my parents and my church exposed me to a vast array of individuals that still impact my life in meaningful ways. My challenge is to find someone and share the blessings that have been given to me.
GE Foundation Leadership Summit
Leveraging Innovative Technologies for Learning
Texas Open Innovation Conference
Mar 27 - 29
Emerging Innovations in Education
Authentic Learning through PBL
FFT Leading & Learning
Connecting Global Education with the Tennessee Valley
reMake Education Summit
Sonoma County, CA
Keynote, Making Making Work in Education
National Governor's Association
Teaching Governor's to Code
US Dept of Education
Round Table with Secretary John King.
K-12 Pathways for CS
Ed Foo--Making in Education (breakout session)
K-12 Education Panels
Strategies for Reducing the Racial Gap in Computing
Boston Museum of Science
Teaching with Toys--Using Robotics as a Gateway for Computer Science
US Dept of Education
MSP Computer Science Proposition
§ The Great Miscalculation
§ Five Facts About Failing
§ Oh! That's STEM?
§ My Mom Isn't
an Engineer and That's