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In our first year we didn’t actually have any idea what the ‘Headwaters Advantage’ would truly be… yes, we had small class sizes, a wonderful facility, fantastic parents, and a great staff (not to mention amazing kids) – all of the pieces necessary for excellence in education. But we didn’t know what that ‘hidden’ piece would be. What character traits would set Headwaters students apart? We’re still learning this even today… like how our children are more polite, more worldly, more engaged, and more enthusiastic about learning (each deserving of its own article!). I’m remembering today the first indication I had, as the school’s founder, what the difference would be.
We were out running on our gravel road (3rd Line C) in an attempt to ‘qualify’ for the Bluewater Track Championships. With a school of only 7 children old enough to attend the track and field meet, we didn’t have anything to run against except the clock. I should note, however, that 9 children were out making these attempts… a couple of those deemed ‘too young’ wanted to ‘just see’ if they’d qualify.
After running hard, VERY hard, for the final qualifier, the students lined up to ask me if they had qualified for various events.
I forgot, momentarily, that I was not coaching world class athletes and slipped in to my ‘here’s the hard goods’ mode – when asked ‘did I qualify?’ I didn’t respond with ‘sadly, no, but maybe next year’ or even ‘good try’. I did that awful thing – almost like the ‘cuts’ list on the bulletin board at school – I went down the list and named the 6 children who did not quality and the three who did.
Only after it was out of my mouth did I stop and say, inwardly, ‘you idiot Mark, that was really harsh’. It was then that the first Headwaters Advantage to show became evident. Resiliency. Loud and strong. My students looked at me without a moments hesitation “can we try again tomorrow?”
Headwaters Academy students know that failure isn’t the end; it is, in fact, the beginning of being better. Of learning. Of growing. And, of a brighter future. They showed me, that bright day in May, what I think is the greatest Headwaters Advantage of all.
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