Two accomplishments were celebrated this week that, while totally unrelated, highlight for me what makes the Center School District special.
The first was in our larger community as the Kansas City Chiefs won Super Bowl LVII and celebrated with the community in a massive parade through downtown.
The second, much smaller event, was the presentation of a Community Education Impact Award from the South KC Chamber of Commerce to the Skilled Trades Program at Center High School.
What those two events have in common for me is the fact that while the celebrations are wonderful, they don’t reveal the hard work that resulted in the final accomplishment.
A couple of quick stories.
In the summer of 2022, Patrick Mahomes was looking at a season with many new team members, including a whole new crew of receivers. He invited the whole group to join him in Texas for a week of workouts and bonding. They worked their butts off together to build the foundation for the Super Bowl championship.
In August of 2021, a brand new woodshop teacher, Alec Chambers, walked into an empty classroom - all his equipment arrived late due to COVID related supply chain issues, he had no lumber, he had no work tables. Students were showing up in two weeks. He didn’t complain, he dug in. He assembled tools. He built work tables. With the help of students, staff, community members, and friends he found and hauled and loaded lumber to create a resource room of supplies. He built the foundation for a program that is now recognized for its impact on students and on our community.
The common theme between the Chiefs and the Woodshop program? They embraced the “hard” stuff and did what was needed to make it work. They failed and learned. They got better. They ended up as champions.
And here’s the thing. What Alec did in the woodshop is far from being unique in the Center School District. Every day, in every building Yellowjackets are taking on hard things, learning from them, growing their skills and abilities, preparing their way for success.
Steve Parker and the students of HIVE TV started with a couple of video cameras. Now they have a full production studio doing daily live broadcasts to a national audience. And still they encounter problems every single day with networks, equipment, and personalities. They work through every one of them. Most of the time they succeed. Sometimes they fail and learn. Every time they work hard.
CHS senior Joe Vick suffered a devastating knee injury at the end of his junior football season. He had surgery. He did rehab. He worked hard and overcame adversity to lead his team to a season for the ages - conference and district champions, All-State recognition, Simone awards, college scholarships.
I could go on and on with similar stories.
Every day, in every building.
We use the phrase “We are Center Yellowjackets and we can do hard things…together”. What that means is that we recognize that anything in life that is meaningful, whether it be a football championship or a community impact award, is never going to be easy. It’s always going to be hard, but doing the hard things helps us grow as individuals and as a team, and leads to the satisfaction of completing something that is worthwhile for ourselves and for the people around us.
One last story from the woodshop. DeAndre learned the hard lesson that sometimes projects break. It’s especially frustrating when the break happens right at the very end, which was the case with his screwdriver here!
A few curse words were said. A walk was taken. And back to work he went.
Every day. Every building. We are CenterYellowjackets and we can do hard things… together.