“Every individual has within their abilities the capability of accomplishing extraordinary things. They just have to learn how to do it.”Brian Tracy
After being blessed with weeks of relatively mild weather, winter has now taken hold at the Morrill campus. As I type this, it’s 10 degrees with a wind-chill measuring below zero. Seasoned Mainers (like me) expect this type of weather at the end of January. As I watched Farm House students walk to the school house this morning, I was reminded about their accomplishments.
One aspect of my job that I love is being able to check-in on students at all different levels of their program. Many new students struggle to find their footing, while students who have been at Ironwood for a while are proud to talk to me about what they have recently accomplished. Regardless of the level students are at, they are all discovering that they can accomplish wonderful things. These accomplishments vary from students meeting their weekly lesson count in school for the first time to getting an “A” on their first college assignment. I always emphasize to Ironwood students that their success is truly the result of discovering that they have the ability to push through personal obstacles. By doing this, they can accomplish great things.
The individual stories I have heard this week have indeed been ones of success. Some examples of this: One is of a student, who historically struggled in math, receiving his first 100 on an Algebra II test. I was pleasantly surprised when a student, who claimed she didn’t like reading when first arriving at Ironwood, told me how much she enjoyed “Animal Farm.” Another story is of a student, who was resistant to registering for a community college course he is now enrolled in, taking extreme pride in beginning a project on the adverse effects of social media. Again, these are examples of personal discovery. These young people are challenging themselves in ways they never thought were possible and having success in the process.
As I typed this, I took a break to look into the school house classroom from my office. All students were engaged with their assignments. As I looked around the room of level 3s and 4s, I realized I could tell stories about each and every one of them regarding how much they have accomplished. “Old-timers” in Maine have often told me stories about walking to school on days of extreme cold weather. As I witnessed students do this storied activity today, none of them complained and they all went straight to work on their studies upon arrival. As they show resilience in dealing with the extremes in weather, they also show a collective eagerness in doing well in school.
*Thank you M., for sharing these thoughts today! We also celebrated a graduation this morning, saying goodbye to a young man (and his parents) who became fixtures in our community over these same many months of their journey. It’s so much fun to experience an Ironwood graduation, witnessing a once struggling young individual heading home with a positive outlook on the future. When I asked this young man if he was happy today, “are you a 1 or a 10?” he responded with the number “20”! We will very much miss this family but it’s time and that’s what we do. Besides, we can now welcome our next young person and their family to Ironwood and that is also what we do. Have a great weekend!