Sacrifice - the surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim. Commitment - an agreement or pledge to do something in the future; when your belief is strong and your purpose just, no obstacle can stand in your way. SACRIFICE - The time is August 1980. During the previous spring, Gwendolyn Combs graduated in the top 3% of her senior class and was excited about her full scholarship at Texas Southern University. Before leaving home, to attend college, she decides to get a physical. She finds out she is pregnant. She informs her parents. They tell her to go to school and the grandparents decided to raise the baby. Gwendolyn refuses, SACRIFICES her scholarship and potentially her future, and decides to take responsibility for her child. To add insult to injury, she is immediately “disfellowshipped” and shunned out of the Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom Hall to which she belonged. Traditionally, this also required her family to stop communicating with her; something which they refused, causing a strain in their lives and their relationships. COMMITMENT - Seven years later Gwendolyn’s child is in a classroom where the topic of college is discussed and all of the other children begin to name the universities their parents attended. Not understanding the concept of college fully, Gwendolyn’s son asked his mother about the college she attended when he got home. She informed him of the circumstances of his birth and how they affected her opportunity to attend college. He did not immediately internalize the SACRIFICES she made for him and thus the COMMITMENT she made to him and his future. He may not have fully understood these two words in terms of a definition, but for the rest of his life, he would internalize their meanings in action. She was present at every parent meeting demanding that teachers teach her son according to his learning modalities and address his learning challenges. She was with him every evening doing homework with him to ensure he fully mastered all concepts. Gwendolyn was present at all of his athletic competitions, screaming at the top of her lungs, rooting him on. She was present so much, that he started to resent her being around all of the time. He felt that she was being overbearing, she was only displaying her COMMITMENT to him. This is a small portion of my story—Dexter’s story. SACRIFICE and COMMITMENT are two of my core values. After one of my football games I told my mother that I didn’t want her around as much and I hated all of the attention she was giving me. No one else’s parents were there and I didn’t want her there. She became upset and stated she was only trying to support me. One of my friends and teammates that was present for this conversation told me that I was crazy for telling my mother that. He wished that someone would give him the love, support, and encouragement that he saw my mother giving me. The SACRIFICE and COMMITMENT she showed me was being displayed through her actions of love, encouragement, and support. Typing this letter, I am tearing up when I think about these two words and their meanings in action. I tear up about the SACRIFICES for me and COMMITMENTS to me that have been made from my mother and countless others. How many of our scholars have this kind of SACRIFICE AND COMMITMENT from a family member? More importantly, how many of them need it? How many our scholars try to reject us, as I foolishly tried to reject my mother, not fully aware of her purpose? It is tough, but I personally believe our scholars deserve our all, whether their parents are in their lives or not. They need our all even more when they reject us. They deserve our best selves, regardless of anything and everything. I began to understand my mother was giving me her best, whether she was ready to be a parent or not. She didn’t know everything about motherhood, but she was relentless about finding out what was best. In pursuit of excellence we must demonstrate a growth mindset; relentlessly pursuing and applying evidence-based practices to instruction and classroom management. From that point in my life and moving forward, I worked as hard as I could to make my mother proud. I worked hard to make sure she knew her SACRIFICES for me and COMMITMENTS to me were not made in vain. I undoubtedly know that we ALL make SACRIFICES for our scholars and COMMITMENTS to our scholars on a daily basis in various forms. We schedule tutoring sessions until 5 PM on wellness days. We schedule tutoring sessions on off days, Saturdays, and every Thursday to let parents know we will do whatever it takes. We locate resources outside of KIPP to provide our scholars with worldly experiences. We take our scholars on ice skating trips. We buy our scholars snap backs and diamond supply sweaters when they reach goals. We buy uniform shirts when our scholars wear the same one every day. We participate in SAW to brighten our days. We send each other shout outs to keep us motivated. We don’t give up on or scholars or take their mistakes personal, even we they go as far as stealing from us or calling us names. We hold them accountable, but we don’t give up on them. We create mentorship groups to help our scholars with life and leadership skills. We help our scholars create mentorship groups to assist them in realizing their own potential. We give rides to make sure our scholars get home safely. We pick up scholars from home on STAAR testing days when their parents think it is okay for them to remain sick at home. We maintain relationships and spend time with former KIPPsters on Mondays and Thursdays to let them know we have not given up on them. We SACRIFICE sleep and time from our own families. We COMMIT to ball games, lunch times, morning meetings, off periods, and after school times in order to make sure our scholars are successful. With every SACRIFICE and COMMITMENT we make, we help our scholars also understand and internalize the significance of their actions and how those actions will lead to success. We have to help them understand that you may have to SACRIFICE time watching television or talking with friends in order to spend extra time studying if you truly want to do well in a class. We have to help them understand how to stay COMMITED to tasks and see - them through, even when it gets tough. We must show as much as tell our students how to uphold our school values—making these ideas bite-size and relevant to their daily lives and experiences as adolescents. As we continue to build as a learning community, I know there will be even more SACRIFICES to be made and COMMITMENTS to make in order to reach our goal; a school of excellence in every aspect that we would send our own children to. It is exciting to know I come to work daily with such a talented group of educators who understand the significance and positive impact that can come from SACRIFICES and COMMITMENTS to our scholars. Have an awesome week! With Scholars in Mind, Dexter Chaney II
Agreed to be a Board Member for the Houston Village Foundation.
July 8, 2012
September 1, 2012
Click here for an inspirational message from the KCEZ President to members of his staff at KIPP TRUTH Academy KTA!
Foundation President featured in Educational newsletter. Click here.
M. Keith Combs (Executive Director) shared his message with the members of the Hightower High School Football Team.
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