Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life, and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before. ~ James Tiberius Kirk, captain, Starship Enterprise
Perhaps I am dating myself, but what the heck? To begin the new year, I am throwing caution to the wind to declare passionately and boldly that I am a Trekkie!
In each episode crew members join forces to battle deadly monsters, fight alien nations, and travel among the galaxies through time and space. The series offers lessons in morality as the main characters struggle with choices of good vs. evil. Captain Kirk, courageous and somewhat impulsive, has a tendency to follow his heart, occasionally at the expense of common sense. Mr. Spock, his ever faithful chief science and first officer, carefully weighs the elements of each situation using his cool sense of logic, intellect, and reason. The Star Trek series creates a hopeful and optimistic view of life among a very diverse group of professionals working together to unite the galaxy for peace.
As we embrace a new year, we also enter a new frontier in a sense for we have yet to know what 2019 will hold. We each take the initial steps on our own personal journey to venture boldly toward an unknown future. But what does it look like to actually live a bold life? It does not necessarily have to mean bungee jumping off a bridge, skydiving, or walking barefoot over hot coals (although those things surely would qualify). In reality, living a bold life can look different for each of us.
Tess Marshall, author of The Bold Life, notes that living boldly equates to speaking our own truth and living life with passion and purpose. So what might living boldly mean? It might involve taking risks and risking feeling uncomfortable. It could mean standing within our own discomfort in order to acclimate ourselves to a new situation or experience. It might mean moving beyond a pervasive sense of fear that has kept us anchored in place for far too long.
This year, we in Robbinsville commit to living boldly. As we begin our 2019 journey we will take intentional steps to support our students and one another in the following ways:
Encourage students to work through adversity.
One of the tenets of the Robbinsville Ready initiative involves creating resilient and self-directed learners. It is resilience, or grit, after all that helps us navigate adversity. Steve Maraboli, author of Life, the Truth, and Being Free, states, “Life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient.” Individuals that demonstrate grit have the capacity to take risks without fear of failure. They have learned to overcome setbacks by drawing on experience and to be flexible in their thinking. This year we continue our commitment to help our students set goals and seek resolutions by integrating creative ways to fine-tune their thinking in the face of difficult situations.
Confront issues of equity.
The administrative leadership team is currently working with Dr. Eddie Fergus, author and applied researcher at Temple University, to confront issues of equity. Using data we are identifying areas of disproportionality with attendance, discipline, and achievement. This work is leading to dynamic and sometimes difficult discussions as we challenge our own—as well as systemic—biases. The goal of this collective effort will help us to develop a mindset through which we view all of our decisions through the lens of equity. If this isn’t bold work, I don’t know what is.
Celebrate outstanding examples fearless and bold living.
We applaud our alumni who are reaching out to share their own stories of living a bold life. This year we are bringing back the Alumni Spotlight, a periodic electronic publication in which we will feature interviews with former graduates of Robbinsville High School. They will update us on the twists and turns their lives have taken since graduation, sharing successes as well as challenges. They will also offer advice based upon their own experience to current students. We believe that you will be as delighted and impressed with their stories as we are. Stay tuned!
Many of us fall into the trap of envisioning the future as a reflection of our past, particularly as it pertains to our mistakes. The Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard said, “Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.” When we find ourselves feeling stuck, whether in the past or by comparing ourselves to others for instance, it is incumbent upon us recognize that we alone hold the key to changing these beliefs, no matter how deeply held. Over the next year as we dare to create lives of meaning and purpose, I challenge each of us to open our minds and hearts to the brave and wondrous.
For 2019, I wish you a bold and fearless new year.
Live long and prosper.
Kathie Foster is superintendent of Robbinsville Schools.