Yesterday, the Dalat community had the chance to hear national Canadian and Olympic volleyball player Michelle Sawatzky-Koop tell her story. In the opening high school assembly and after school, Michelle talked about how she became a successful volleyball player even though she was told over and over again that at 5’6” tall she was too short.
Michelle made a decision while still in high school that she would do two things in regards to her critics: 1) stop worrying about the other players and strive to be the best she could be, and 2) always try harder than anyone else. Both of these goals were obtainable no matter what her circumstances were.
Throughout her career Michelle showed a high level of perseverance and what is often referred to as “grit.” Some examples from her story was her willingness in high school to travel 4 hours one way twice a week to practice with the only club team that would take her and in college the 2 hour early morning practices by herself three times a week throughout all five years.
Recently a number of books about education and success have been talking about the characteristic of “grit.” Schools (and academic culture) tend to see high grades and test scores as an indicator of potential for success, and yet one of the major characteristics needed for success, perseverance and grit, is rarely mentioned or discussed. During this semester, I would like to talk more about this topic as I think it is something that we need to think more about as a school and community.
For those interested, here is one of the books I have read that has challenged me to rethink some of our assumptions about education. You can click on this link to take you to the Amazon page where you can read more about it and order it if you like.
Finally, let me also say welcome to our new families that have joined us this semester. For the rest of us I want to encourage you to take the time to introduce yourself to them, get to know them, and help them feel a part of this wonderful community we call Dalat.