To all of the teachers, professors, parents, teaching assistants, teacher aids, caregivers, faculty, staff, and state/county/city/town employees who give so much to children to provide a sound education, a safe community, and a happy place to grow up. Thank you.
This year, I’m thinking about Mr. Height, my debate teacher/coach. He believed in each of us, provided training and advice. He helped me and my teammates understand the power of effective stories and understand the power of effective delivery–they went hand-in-hand. And like all great coaches, he was happy as long as we did our best.
I enjoyed traveling throughout New York State, from school to school competing in tournaments and against rivals, like Bronx High School of Science–they were our arch enemies–I have no idea why, by the way, I just remember being told they were–and I had to respect tradition (laugh out loud).
GOOD WITCH, BAD WITCH, OR JUST UGLY
I do remember going to an extemporaneous tournament at Harvard University, senior year. Where debate was typically two-against-two, extemporaneous speaking was every person for him/herself. I distinctly remember my topic, “Are you a good witch, are you a bad witch, or are you just plain ugly?” I was anxious and felt a little green. That was my first, true taste of thinking on your feet and being judged for my storytelling, use of data and facts, and logic.
The Most important story in your life
I truly believe you have to reflect back on things in your life, to be a better person. It is our experiences, bad and good, and the way we choose to live our life based on these experiences, that shape us into who we are today. The most important story in your life, is the one you tell yourself. And the teachers we had during these formative years likely played some role in shaping these experiences and helping us be better versions of ourselves.
Photography Source: National PTA