February is Black History Month. Originally what was created by Dr. Carter Woodson as a week dedicated to the heritage and achievements of Black Americans has now evolved into a month-long celebration in which we get to highlight some of the amazing contributions and successes of Black Americans.
WHO WAS YOUR HERO?
This is a great opportunity for kids to be inspired by heroes that look like them and experience their path to achievement. I still remember the cold November Friday night in Dalhart, Texas, back in 1979. My hometown was celebrating a district football championship and town hero, Quarterback Greg Field, was honored. He inspired me and my fellow sixth-grade friends. Greg looked like us. He lived in our town. He went to our church. The dream of becoming like him seemed achievable.
When we find real-life examples of those who look like us and share similar life experiences, we feel admiration and inspiration in our hearts. The same goes for our students. Their hearts and minds are filled with hope because they can picture themselves being like the individuals they admire. They work to act like them, to think like them, and to change the world like them.
There is a myriad of examples of people who fall into the category of greatness. The opportunity to recognize an astronaut, for example, isn’t limited to Neil Armstrong. Dr. Bernard Harris can also be celebrated. He will go down in history as the first African American to walk in space. This Texas Tech graduate helps students who look like him to believe in the Red Raider motto, “From here, it’s possible.” His legacy will live on forever. His contributions should never be forgotten.
When people celebrate historical heroes like Dwight Eisenhower, they can also celebrate General Charles Quinton Brown, Jr. who represents the United States, Air Force, as a four-star general and currently serves as the 22nd Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force. He is the first African American to be appointed as Chief of Staff, and he is the first African American to lead any branch of the United States Armed Forces. Amazingly, he is also a Texas Tech Red Raider. Of course, that does not come as a surprise. There are so many inspirations to celebrate!
Our record-breaking student performance achievement ratings are fortified by the hard work and success of all students. Many school districts are working to close the achievement gap. Our Wylie kids have not only closed it, they exceeded it…like a BOSS!
Our kiddos also set a high bar on not only basic graduation rates but also the number of students who walk across the stage with the highest certificate.
FROM HERE, IT’S POSSIBLE
Evidence of the history our African American students are making goes well beyond a graph or chart. Behind these achievements are amazing students with limitless potential. It did not take long to find a handful of recent Wylie ISD graduates who are making hope happen for those around them. Keep your eye out for these inspiring leaders; you may someday see them in the history books.
In Wylie ISD, we are not only celebrating the history of African Americans. We are also celebrating the opportunity to forge connections and appreciation for the individuals who have made a positive impact in the world. When our students look to find examples of those they can look up to, we work to introduce them to heroes. We want Wylie students’ hearts to be filled and inspired in the same way Greg Field inspired me. Thank you for the role you play in ensuring that we embrace diversity and bring inclusion to our district. We value this work, and we look forward to continuing this journey along with you. From here it’s possible, the Wylie Way!