This past week, thousands of our students took the time to map their futures. I genuinely believe that every single student in Wylie ISD has a bright future ahead. The grit and discipline required to execute a plan is something that we, as a district, aim to instill in our students daily much of our focus is on preparing students to achieve their goals. Achievement is a term describing winners or recognition of a milestone at the end of the journey. I hope that our Wylie kids view achievement differently.
Recently, I had a conversation with a senior who happened to be working on a college scholarship application. The essay portion of the application asked for a description of an African-American who inspired him. As we reflected on the many contributions to the community, it was amazing to see how the pursuit of their goals shaped them into the legends that we know today.
When I think about a picture of success, the images often include leaders and artists, like the visionary American artist and entrepreneur, Debbie Allen. Debbie is widely known for her starring roles in Fame and Grey’s Anatomy. A prolific dancer, her plan was to attend the Houston Ballet School. Debbie was rejected for admission to the school on the basis of color. Thankfully, a teacher at the school became her champion. He enrolled Allen secretly, and she thrived. At 16, Allen encountered another potentially devastating setback that nearly halted her career when she was rejected by the North Carolina School of the Arts, again, on the basis of color. Despite numerous challenges, Allen refused to give up on her passions.
Allen’s early career was full of many trials and setbacks; but, as Allen says, “Out of limitations comes creativity.”
Allen’s path shows the grit and determination we hope all Wylie ISD students can show when faced with the challenges in achieving their dreams. In Wylie ISD, we don’t just talk about our students’ futures: we help them craft a plan and practice the social and emotional tools it takes to handle the setbacks when they come.
In our lives, we won’t have the satisfaction of reaching every single goal we set. The path to achievement will unfold much differently than planned. There will be plenty of twists and turns along the way. As a community, we don’t aim to prepare students for one specific outcome: our goal is to prepare them for the crooked roads of life’s journey, the Wylie Way!