On October 1, 1961, New York Yankee Roger Maris slammed home run number 61, breaking Babe Ruth’s record for the most home runs in a single season. Because Ruth accomplished this feat in a 154 game schedule that took Maris 161, an asterisk was placed next to this record by Major League Baseball.
This example has been my lifelong reference point for this notorious bit of punctuation that appears on the page as a small starlike symbol, used in writing and printing as a reference mark or to indicate an omission, doubtful matter, etc.
Julie Keller from the Baltimore Sun described it best:
“It’s hard to top the Asterisk – because the Asterisk is there to top everything else. The Asterisk always gets the last word. It adds a dubious, “Well, yes, but …” The Asterisk is the elbow in the ribs, the wink, the smirk, the disclaimer, the qualification. It’s hard to love the Asterisk, just as it’s hard to love a smarty-pants showoff.”
The Asterisk can warn you, prepare you, or even let you know more about the story. Who hasn’t overlooked *Batteries not included in their gift buying lifetime?
The Asterisk has become an essential tool in our planning and communication this year.
*Wylie ISD will begin the school year with On-Campus Learning
*Wylie ISD will provide remote learning
*Wylie ISD will compete in UIL Sports and Fine Arts
*Wylie ISD will provide transportation to students
*Wylie ISD will practice specific cleaning practices daily
*Wylie ISD will conduct an in-person graduation ceremony
Each of these decisions required their own Asterisk with many different details in the fine print to keep everyone healthy and safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. At the beginning of a new year, we find ourselves a new semester and a new hope in the form of a vaccine. I attribute our success to outstanding and adaptable educators, parents, and students that approached every Asterisk with hope, grit, and determination to make the best of every circumstance.
I am so proud of our Wylie ISD family, considering each school day a gift, not a guarantee. Some things don’t require an asterisk in Wylie ISD. Our identity is defined as “who we are as a group.” Like the Marines, our identity could be measured by how we have adapted and overcome every Asterisk in our pathway. This identity can be described by values such as Love, Grace, Patience, Hope, and a sense of commitment to helping each other you have displayed requires NO qualification or last word, NO ASTERISK!
2021 is here, and the second semester of the school year is about to begin. Although we are still uncertain when educators will receive the vaccination, Wylie ISD Trustees are crafting a proclamation in support of these brave folks receiving an essential front line worker designation.
We look forward to the vaccine and a future that will include a full cafeteria, bus rides to out of town football games, dances, field trips, and awards ceremonies that will fill our schedules and hearts. I look forward to these days when we can safely hug our kids. I will always remember these trying days when an Asterisk seemed to appear in front of every decision. More importantly, I will cherish the character and kindness you showed our kids and each other to provide happiness and engagement that boldly faces every Asterisk, the Wylie Way!
Happy New Year!