What Will Be Your Mark?

What Will Be Your Mark?
January 15, 2015 GWHS

On Monday school will be closed to recognize the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a man whose challenge to humankind is at the root of what we work towards everyday as educators.

Dr. King’s vision of equality is still a work in progress, but the endeavor is just as important as the final goal. The effort is what shapes the content of our days, the construct of our spirits, and the reality of our existence. We cannot control what our students encounter outside of school, but we can shape what they experience inside our walls. Rich, poor, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, gay, straight, transgender, Muslim, Christian, Hindu ” there should be no difference in the opportunities available to our students.

As educators, our charge in this mission is to discover and embrace what makes every one of our students unique and then give each child the opportunity to develop the confidence and guts to be successful in this incredibly complex world.

It is so easy to fall into the mindset that we are teachers of content ” dates, numbers, and words ” which would be easy if that were our job. Instead, we must focus on empowering our students with the skill of how to think independently ” how to absorb, analyze, and dissect information. In Dr. King’s words, “the function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character ” that is the goal of true education.”

This means looking more closely at our students and knowing who they are beyond a letter in our grade-books. We should understand their strengths and weaknesses, know what challenges they face outside of school, and believe in their ability to overcome adversity. When students leave our school after four years, they should be armed with the confidence to face the world and the awareness that they, and only they, are in charge of their future.

On Monday, as we reflect on the legacy of Dr. King and give thanks for all of those who fought to bring us the world we live in today, I encourage you to think about how you can become a part of Dr. King’s dream. What will be your mark?


José Martinez | Principal
George Washington High School